Mariners aim high

Central Coast midfielder John Hutchinson is hoping a win in this week's Hyundai A-League Round 9 derby match against Newcastle at Bluetongue Stadium will set the Mariners up for a tilt at a top-two finish.

Central Coast midfielder John Hutchinson is hoping a win in this week's Hyundai A-League Round 9 derby match against Newcastle at Bluetongue Stadium will set the Mariners up for a tilt at a top-two finish.

Hutchinson has enjoyed fine success in matches between the two fierce rivals, netting three goals including a double in the 2005/06 season, as well as the opening goal in the first derby match of the 2006/07 season.

The Mariners are currently in fourth position on the table on 10 points, equal with the Jets, and a win would see them keep up the pressure on leaders Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United, but Hutchinson knows a loss this week could see his side slip down to the bottom.

"I think this game's gonna hopefully set up the rest of our season, so if we can get the three points and move closer to the top two then we can set ourselves up for a big run home," Hutchinson said.

"If we don't win we could drop down to equal last, the ladder is pretty tight and we need to win this week to look forward to obviously another big game against Sydney the week after, but it's one game at a time and hopefully we can get the points and work our way from there."

Hutchinson conceded that this week's match has more significance than matches against the other teams, but the players will be treating it as just another match despite the added excitement around the playing group.

"Just as a normal game, (we'll) turn up to our training sessions, hopefully (they'll be) a bit more bubbly than they were last week," he said.

"We were a bit flat during the week and obviously in the game last week so hopefully we're up a bit more and we can put a good show on for our fans and members 'cause I think we owe them one."

"Both teams definitely give it a little bit more than they normally would, I think it's the only true derby, they're only up the road and it's a massive game."

Hutchinson has had injury troubles this season and missed two matches with a foot injury, before returning last week in the shock 1-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. But the 28-year-old believes the team will benefit from the match this week being played on Friday night.

"It's amazing, probably the best thing that could've happened to us, obviously (it was a) really disappointing result on Sunday," he said.

"The quick turnaround is really good for us, we don't have to sit there and dwell on the loss for so long. Obviously (on) Friday night, if we can get the three points, the game against Wellington is half forgotten about."