Mariners face tough injury run

Powerful front man Dylan Macallister is in 'extreme doubt' for the Central Coast Mariners A-League season opener against Newcastle on Friday night.

Powerful front man Dylan Macallister is in 'extreme doubt' for the Central Coast Mariners A-League season opener against Newcastle on Friday night.

Macallister has been troubled by a lower back injury all week and was unable to train on Wednesday. But he is desperate to play in the grand final replay against the Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

The former Olyroo representative has been one of the Mariners most consistent performers during the pre-season. He is forming an exciting partnership up front with veteran marksman Sasho Petrovski.

"I'll be pretty shattered if I can't play," Macallister said.

"But it's one of those injuries you can't take too many risks with. I don't want to play and then be out for a long time."

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said a final decision on Macallister will be left as late as possible.

"It's touch and go," McKinna said.

McKinna, though, is not blessed with endless options after a pre-season dominated by injuries. He said he would consider starting with Nik Mrdja up front if Macallister is out. Mrdja has been battling a career-threatening knee injury for three years but has been performing strongly in trials.

McKinna has confirmed Socceroo Mile Jedinak (groin) and defender Nigel Boogaard (thigh) will not play against the Jets. Dean Heffernan is also in doubt.

"We've had our share of injury worries but I'm still confident we can get a result,'' he said.