Simon seeks Birthday bonus

Central Coast striker Matt Simon will be out to celebrate his 24th birthday with a goal when the Mariners take on competition leaders Gold Coast in crucial Hyundai A-League contest at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Friday night.

Central Coast striker Matt Simon will be out to celebrate his 24th birthday with a goal when the Mariners take on competition leaders Gold Coast in crucial Hyundai A-League contest at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Friday night.

Simon has not found the back of the net since the Mariners gave up two second-half goals to lose 2-1 against Gold Coast two months ago.

Since that match there has been plenty of frustration in front of goals for the fringe Australian player.

But Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna is convinced Simon's seventh goal of the season is not far away.

"He needs a goal and he's doing everything he can at training to make sure he gives himself a chance to score," McKinna said.

"Matty is working hard, maybe too hard. He is a very positive person, the key for him is to relax and enjoy playing and the goals will come."

Despite his extended goal drought, Simon is still the club's leading scorer with six goals.

He is one ahead of rejuvenated front man Nik Mrdja, who has turned back the clock during the past month.

Mrdja found the back of the net from the penalty spot last week and looked dangerous throughout.

The off-contract striker is injury free and relishing the opportunities McKinna is giving him.

"For the past two games he's (Mrdja) been fantastic for us," McKinna said.

"We need him to keep that up for the rest of the season."

The Mariners are in seventh place, four points behind sixth-placed Perth and are desperate for only their second home win of the season on Friday night.