Vukovic keen on redemption

Central Coast goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will be a man on a mission when the Mariners battle to keep their Asian Champions League hopes alive on Tuesday.

Central Coast goalkeeper Danny Vukovic will be a man on a mission when the Mariners battle to keep their Asian Champions League hopes alive on Tuesday.

For four years Vukovic has been one of the Mariners' best players, a key figure in the club's charge to two Hyundai A-League grand finals.

His outstanding form in between the sticks was vital as the Mariners booked a place in the Asian Champions League.

Now he is chasing redemption. Vukovic was at fault for Kawasaki's first goal as the Japanese club beat the Mariners 2-1 in the Champions League last week.

In atrocious conditions, he fumbled a straightforward header and Kawasaki pounced to open the scoring.

It was by far the biggest mistake Vukovic has made during his successful time with the Mariners.

That mistake means Vukovic heads into Tuesday's must-win showdown with the Pohang Steelers in Korea with extra motivation to turn in a match-winning performance.

"In four years at the club I've never made a mistake like that," Vukovic said.

"It was disappointing in such a big game so I'm keen to rectify that against the Steelers. The conditions were not great but that's no excuse, it's a ball I should have held."

Vukovic suffered a slight groin strain early in the match against Kawasaki but has declared himself a certain starter against the Steelers.

He did not play in a trial against NSW Super League side Central Coast Lightning last Tuesday night but has been training strongly.

"I'll be fine," Vukovic said.

"I took things a bit easy after Japan but by Tuesday I'll be right to go."

The Mariners and Steelers had a scoreless draw when they met at Gosford in March and Vukovic is confident his team can score a breakthrough Champions League victory away from home.

To reach the competition's knockout stages the Mariners must pick up three points on Tuesday.

Vukovic is confident of a Mariners win.

"We haven't won in a while but the boys are feeling pretty good about this game," he said.

"We know if we lose our hopes of going to the knockout stage is gone so everyone is determined to make sure that doesn't happen."

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna is adamant Vukovic will lift for the crunch match.

"Danny has been great for us for a long time," McKinna said.

"It was a bad mistake in Japan but I'm sure that won't happen again. He was pretty disappointed."