Striker quandary for Arnold

Central Coast will have their striking depth put to the test when the Mariners battle to lock down a top-two position in Wednesday night's deferred Hyundai A-League encounter against Gold Coast at Skilled Park.

Central Coast will have their striking depth put to the test when the Mariners battle to lock down a top-two position in Wednesday night's deferred Hyundai A-League encounter against Gold Coast at Skilled Park.

With leading goal-poacher Matt Simon out with a knee injury, Mariners coach Graham Arnold will be forced into a change up front.

There is plenty on the line in the match with the Mariners assured of second spot if they can beat third-placed Gold Coast.

Arnold will not settle on his final starting side until just before kick-off but hinted that young gun Bernie Ibini-Isei is in the running for his first Hyundai A-League outing of the season.

Ibini-Isei has been in outstanding form for the Mariners youth team and is one of several options to replace Simon.

Arnold is also toying with the idea of playing attacking midfielder Patricio Perez up front with Mustafa Amini coming into the midfield.

Michael Baird, who recently arrived at the club from Perth, is slowly getting to full fitness and is also in contention.

Arnold has a tough decision to make with regular striker Adam Kwasnik battling injury. The coach does not want to risk playing him and then losing him for the finals.

"It's tough losing Matty at this stage of the season but he's a chance to come back for our home game against Newcastle on Sunday," Arnold said.

"For Wednesday night there is a few ways we can go. I'm confident in the depth we've got at the club. Bernie has been doing very well for the youth team and Michael has been working hard since arriving at the club."

Arnold said his team is treating the match like a semi-final.

"We're playing well but want to keep the momentum going leading into the finals," he said.