Mariners face must-win clash

Central Coast needs to win its first game of the year on Tuesday if the Mariners are any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.

Central Coast needs to win its first game of the year on Tuesday if the Mariners are any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.

The Mariners have not won a match since beating Perth in the Hyundai A-League on December 31.

Since that success the club was bundled out of the A-League finals following a string of disappointing defeats. In the Champions League the club started in positive fashion with two draws.

But back-to-back defeats against Japanese heavyweights Kawasaki have put pressure on the team to beat the Pohang Steelers in Korea on Tuesday.

The teams had a scoreless draw when they met at Gosford in March.

But nothing but a win will do for the Mariners this time around.

"We know what we've got to do and I'm confident we can do it," Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said.

"When we played them in Gosford I thought we were the better team."

"We've only had one bad performance (a 5-0 defeat against Kawasaki) so we're not too far off the pace. Training has been good."

"Our job is to go over there and try to have a go at them and be positive from the first minute."

The key for the Mariners will not be conceding an early goal. If the team can keep Pohang scoreless in the first half the Mariners have plenty of attacking players capable of scoring.

Striker Matt Simon was a constant threat to the Kawasaki defence in the club's last match and will be a major threat for the Mariners on Tuesday.

McKinna needs Simon's strike partner Dylan Macallister to rediscover the form that made him one of the best players during the early weeks of the A-League.