McKinna: We're still in the hunt

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna is disappointed his side missed a chance to move further up the Hyundai A-League ladder but disagrees the competition is shaping as the 'top two teams and the rest'.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna is disappointed his side missed a chance to move further up the Hyundai A-League ladder but disagrees the competition is shaping as the 'top two teams and the rest'.

The third-placed Mariners could have put pressure on Gold Coast and Sydney but lost 1-0 to Adelaide United in a tough encounter at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

The result could allow GCU and the Sky Blues to establish a greater break on the pack but McKinna said there was still plenty of football to be played before season's end.

"I fancy Gold Coast to probably drop something over in Perth and that's no disrespect to Gold Coast. Home teams have definitely got an advantage and Sydney are very solid and I think they can be beat as well so over the next few weeks it might stretch off like that but I think at the moment it's too early to say it's a two-horse race," McKinna said.

"I think other teams can get on a run with momentum. That's the disappointing thing for us. It would've been great to get that win and set ourselves up for a top-of-the-table clash with Gold Coast next week."

Despite the loss on Friday, McKinna was pleased with many aspects of his team's performance against Adelaide.

"Credit to Adelaide, in the first 15-20 minutes they put us under a bit of pressure, which we knew they would because they had to win to get back in the mix," he said.

"We had two (scoring attempts) cleared off the line, but I think we failed at set pieces. You come off after the game and you look at it and say we tried, worked hard, but there wasn't a lot in the front third where you could say we were unlucky."

"After Adelaide scored they didn't create anything, we didn't create anything, we probably nullified each other out."

The introduction of substitute Dean Heffernan for Ahmad Elrich also sparked some positive play from the visitors in the second half.

"When we broke a few times up the left hand side, which is the area we've been doing OK in, Ahmad (Elrich) hasn't got a natural left foot, so we thought we'd get Heff on and use his pace. That paid a few dividends," he said.

Central Coast's next challenge is beating the Gold Coast at Bluetongue Stadium next Saturday night. The club says New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey and defender Chris Doig may be available for the clash.