Mariners confident of victory

He will be without his right-hand man for the first time in years but Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna is still confident his team can beat table-topping Melbourne in the A-League on Saturday night.

He will be without his right-hand man for the first time in years but Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna is still confident his team can beat table-topping Melbourne in the A-League on Saturday night.

The big news for the Mariners in the build up to the game at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford has been the surprise departure of assistant coach Ian Ferguson on Monday.

Ferguson has been appointed football manager of new franchise North Queensland FC.

The news ends what has been a successful partnership between McKinna and Ferguson, that has included two grand final appearances.

But McKinna is adamant Ferguson leaving will not stop the Mariners being a force in the A-League.

"This happens in football, it's part of the game and we have to move on," McKinna said.

"He's done a great job for the club and has a fantastic opportunity with North Queensland. The club wishes him all the best. Our focus now is getting a result against Melbourne at home."

Former Socceroo skipper Alex Tobin is also a key member of McKinna's coaching staff and is sure to play a more prominent role, starting with Saturday night's clash against the Victory.

It will only be the Mariners second match at home this season and provides the club with a great opportunity to halt Melbourne's outstanding start to the season.

The Mariners are in fourth sport, five points behind Melbourne.