Mariners make use of English connections

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna has indicated he will be making the most of the club's connections with Sheffield United for the Mariners' Asian Champions League campaign.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna has indicated he will be making the most of the club's connections with Sheffield United for the Mariners' Asian Champions League campaign.

The Mariners received a favourable draw - which took place in Dubai on Wednesday night - by avoiding the big teams from Asia to be grouped with Tianjin Teda (China), Kawasaki Frontale (Japan) and Pohang Steelers (Korea Republic).

"We are quite happy with the draw," McKinna said via phone.

"We have some basic feedback on them all, and when we find out when and where we are going to play them we will a bit more homework on them."

"We will use some of our contacts in China. We will use the Sheffield United contacts and with their Chinese club Chengdu Blades, and in Japan we have some contacts over there and hopefully Ahmed Elrich still has some contacts over in Korea, so we will see if we can use some of them there."

McKinna said the Mariners, who have a 'sister club' arrangement with Sheffield, will be calling upon the English club to strengthen their squad for the ACL campaign and it may include Socceroo David Carney.

"We are looking at strengthening the squad but there is nothing concrete yet," he said.

"We have been talking to Sheffield about a player or two coming in but while the transfer market is open there those players will be looking for transfers so if somebody comes in and buys them they won't be coming to Australia."

"Sheffield has not put his (Carney) name up but as far as I am aware Carney is looking for a move."

"But if he doesn't get a move in this transfer window the first thing I will be doing is getting onto Sheffield and saying 'He will be playing reserve football for the next six months (so) come over here and play in the Champions League with us on loan, because he has still got a year and a half to go at Sheffield'."

"So if he doesn't get a move in January that will definitely be a question I will be going to ask."

McKinna also said the Mariners will be looking to play 'friendlies' against fellow Sheffield United 'sister side' Chinese club Chengdu Blades as well as the Newcastle Jets in the lead-up to the competition, which starts in March.

"Over the next week we will put together the pre-season games and obviously the Newcastle Jets will be in there and maybe a few State league clubs and then we might look at going overseas to China particularly to Blades, Sheffield United's club over there," he said.

"That will give us some good grounding and information over there on Tianjin."

The Mariners boss said he would also be talking to Adelaide coach Aurelio Vidmar about the ins and outs of the ACL campaign.

"I will be sitting down with Viddy (Aurelio Vidmar) and Ahmed Elrich and with Gary van Egmond as well to go through a lot the logistical things about training and travel," McKinna said.

"I spoke to Viddy a while ago and Adelaide has been fantastic - very open with their plans and everything."