Mariners won't risk Wilkinson

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold is taking a no-risk approach with skipper Alex Wilkinson and ruled the central defender out of Saturday night's Hyundai A-League match against Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold is taking a no-risk approach with skipper Alex Wilkinson and ruled the central defender out of Saturday night's Hyundai A-League match against Gold Coast United at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford.

Wilkinson suffered a fractured arm during the club's short pre-season trip to New Zealand and missed the round one defeat against Brisbane last week.

Arnold originally hoped his inspirational leader would be fit to take on Gold Coast in the Mariners long awaited return to Gosford.

But the club has opted to give Wilkinson at least another week on the sidelines.

Versatile Brad Porter will again partner stand-in skipper Patrick Zwaanswijk in the centre of defence on Saturday night with Wilkinson hoping to return for the round three showdown against Newcastle next week.

"I've just got to be patient with it,'' Wilkinson said of his injury.

"It's a long season; I don't want to come back too early and then hurt it again and miss more matches.''

"I'm hoping for Newcastle.''

"At this stage it's a week to week thing. After such a long off-season it's very frustrating missing the first games of the year.''

Despite the round one 1-0 loss to Brisbane the Mariners will head into the Gold Coast match with confidence.

They showed plenty of good signs against the Roar and are eager to perform well in front of their own fans.

The last time the Mariners played at Gosford they secured a spot in the grand final following a defeat of Gold Coast in the final.

"We did pretty well last week,'' Arnold said.

"We just need to be better with the ball.''

Kick off is 5.30pm.