Central Coast skipper Alex Wilkinson is looking forward to the prospect of playing one of Australia's most potent strikers when the Mariners take on Japanese heavyweights Nagoya Grampus.
Central Coast skipper Alex Wilkinson is looking forward to the prospect of playing one of Australia's most potent strikers when the Mariners take on Japanese heavyweights Nagoya Grampus in the Asian Champions League at Central Coast Stadium.
How the Mariners can handle Qantas Socceroo star Josh Kennedy will be a key to the match and Wilkinson is looking forward to testing himself against the big front man.
"It's a huge challenge," Wilkinson said.
"That's the beauty of playing in the ACL, you get to test yourself against great players."
Wilkinson and his coach Graham Arnold agreed one of the main objectives for the Mariners was to cut the supply to Kennedy who is strong in the air, can shoot with both feet and poses a huge threat.
"We've got to keep an eye on him very closely, but also cut the service he gets," Wilkinson said.
"Me and Patrick (fellow central defender Patrick Zwaanswijk) will have to stay close to him."
But Arnold insisted the Mariners have not just focused on the Kennedy threat, insisting Nagoya have several players capable of turning the match.
"They (Nagoya Grampus) have a wonderful history, fantastic players and a high profile coach," Arnold said.
"We hope the Central Coast people embrace the opportunity and support the game."
"The players have been fantastic, everyone is fit; we've got no injury concerns."
The Mariners started the ACL with an impressive scoreless draw against Tianjin Teda earlier this month.