Three changes likely for Mariners

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has confirmed three likely changes heading into the AFC Champions League, and also hit out at FFA.

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has confirmed three likely changes in personnel for the Mariners heading into the AFC Champions League, and also hit out at Football Federation Australia.

Speaking after the Mariners retained top spot in the A-League with a 6-2 thrashing of the Melbourne Victory, Arnold was critical of the fixture his side has been handed domestically.

"It's hard because the draw from the FFA is not the best," he said.

"For teams that make the Asian Champions League we play on Wednesday night and we have got to back up against Western Sydney on Saturday.

"It would have been nice if they had looked at it and said 'you can play Sunday' and given us an extra 24 hours.

"The FFA make it quite difficult at times to compete in both competitions at a high level and when you get to the finals series (it's hard.)

"In April we have got four Champions League games."

The Mariners face a short turnaround after a possible home A-League semi-final on April 12 - three days after an away clash against Guizhou Renhe in Asia.

If they reach the grand final on April 20, the Mariners are set to play Suwon in Korea on Wednesday.

"We have got 19 players to choose from" Arnold said with the squads not submitted for the tournament.

The Mariners failed in their bid to lure Japanese star Daisuke Matsui to the club and Arnold said that was somewhat of a blow.

"It would have been nice to have the finances to bring in an Asian player for the Champions League but that wasn't the case," he said.

"We have the smallest budget in the A-League and we will have 10 times the smallest in the ACL."

After their Saturday fixture, the side is in a period of 'active recovery' - according to Arnold - and will train on Monday followed by a short tactical run of half-an-hour on Tuesday.

Arnold, 49, confirmed three likely changes for the Wednesday night fixture against Suwon.

"After a game on this type of field (in wet conditions) the older players will struggle to back up," he said.

"So Patrick (Zwaanswijk), Hutch (skipper John Hutchinson) and I'll look at Daniel McBreen to see how he goes.

"Oli Bozanic will be ready to replace Hutch, Zac Anderson probably for Patrick and we will see how McBreen goes (in recovery.) I was happy with Nick Fitzgerald when he came on."

Former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski is set to feature in Arnold's strike force for the game at Bluetongue Stadium.

"Mile comes back in, we just rested him tonight. That's how we manage the older players so we don't break them, freshen them up," he said.

"So he will be ready for Wednesday night as well."