McKinna: We must win

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna will be hoping Melbourne comes out blazing to help secure the Mariners a place in the A-League finals for a third time in four seasons tonight.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna will be hoping Melbourne comes out blazing to help secure the Mariners a place in the A-League finals for a third time in four seasons tonight.

The scenario is simple for the Mariners. If Melbourne can beat Wellington at home on Friday Central Coast will play finals football.

But if Wellington spring a major upset and down Melbourne, the Mariners will have to get at least a draw out of Sunday's match against title-chasing Adelaide at Gosford.

While Melbourne start favourites tonight, McKinna said the New Zealanders are more then capable of winning.

"We're treating it like we have to come out on Sunday and win to make the finals," McKinna said.

"Wellington is a good side and they'll be desperate so we can't rely on Melbourne beating them. Our focus is on getting three points against Adelaide at home and heading into the finals with some confidence."

A big crowd is expected at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday. The Mariners, beaten in last year's A-League grand final by Newcastle, have been hot and cold so far this season, but they have plenty of big match experience and have key players in top form.

Strikers Dylan Macallister and Matt Simon will be confident after gaining Socceroos selection this week, while captain Alex Wilkinson will be out for a big game after not getting a call-up to Pim Verbeek's national squad for next week's Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia.

The Mariners will need to be switched on across the Park against Adelaide with the visitors in a three-way fight for top spot after the preliminary rounds and are sure to adopt an attacking game plan against the Mariners.

"They'll come at us and we'll also be trying to play an open game," McKinna said.

"Even if Wellington loses against Melbourne we'll go out to win and head into the finals with a bit of momentum."