McKinna backs his defence

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna believes his under pressure defence will be up to the task when the Mariners kick off the Hyundai A-League season away to Melbourne on Thursday night.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna believes his under pressure defence will be up to the task when the Mariners kick off the Hyundai A-League season away to Melbourne on Thursday night.

The Mariners' defence copped plenty of criticism at the end of the last campaign with a series of defeats seeing the club exit the Hyundai A-League finals early before a winless run in the Asian Champions League.

But McKinna is adamant he has the players to 'get the job done' against the defending champions in Round 1.

New signing Chris Doig has taken no time to strike up a strong partnership in central defence with skipper Alex Wilkinson.

Doig has plenty of experience in the top three tiers in England and McKinna has been delighted with how the former Scotland youth international has fitted in on the Central Coast.

The pair will need to be switched on against a star-studded Melbourne front line.

"Chris and Wilko have looked very good together in the pre-season," McKinna said.

"We needed improvement in that area and I'm confident they can do the job."

During the final weeks of the last Hyundai A-League season and throughout the Asian Champions League the Mariners leaked some poor goals.

That is an area McKinna has worked hard on during the club's short pre-season.

"We are looking pretty solid at the back," he said.

"I think we're in good shape."

A decision on whether Dylan Macallister, who is battling a knee injury, makes the trip to Melbourne will be made on Tuesday.