Mariners look for first win

Andrew Clark could be the Central Coast Mariners' secret weapon as they chase their maiden AFC Champions League win in Tianjin, China.

Andrew Clark could be the Central Coast Mariners' secret weapon as they chase their maiden AFC Champions League win in Tianjin, China.

Clark was an unused substitute in the Mariners' 0-0 draw with Korean FA Cup holders Pohang Steelers at Central Coast Stadium last Wednesday, but it is his extensive playing history in Asian domestic competitions that could prove a decisive factor for his team in what will be a grueling quest for continental silverware.

The 34-year-old played in Hong Kong with 5-1-7 FC and in Malaysia with Kedah and is confident his teammates have what it takes to get the full points away from home.

"It was great when we first qualified for the AFC Champions League and to now actually be playing in the games that we've planned to play in for so long is a great thing and I hope that we get the chance to go as far as we can in this competition and then experience this again," he said.

"I definitely think that we've done everything in our power to win this game, the players are confident now, given the experiences that we've had, that we can beat any team in this competition and that we're well and truly good enough to be here."

"I don't think it's beyond the question to get a result and if we do get a result, why not a win?"

The Mariners will first have to come to terms with a punishing travel schedule totaling almost 24 hours that is sure to test some weary bodies after a tough A-League season.

Despite the daunting travel schedule, the Mariners arrived in Tianjin in good spirits and confident of achieving what would be a famous result against a team regarded by locals as one capable of mounting a serious challenge for domestic silverware in 2009.

"It was a 23-hour trip yesterday for the boys and we completed a light session this morning - just stretching the legs and making sure that everyone was feeling OK," said Clark.

"So far it looks as though everyone has come through the trip very well and in high spirits, so our session this afternoon will be good to get us on the Tianjin Teda Stadium pitch and prepare us for the game in a few days time."

"I'm sure when we play at 8pm at night it'll be close to zero, which is good conditions to play football in, we'll be full of running after being used to playing in 30 degrees."