Wilko talks up Mariners

It has taken Central Coast captain Alex Wilkinson only a handful of training sessions to predict the Mariners are set for another successful A-League season.

It has taken Central Coast captain Alex Wilkinson only a handful of training sessions to predict the Mariners are set for another successful A-League season.

Wilkinson has returned from a 13-game playing stint with Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Sainty and is feeling refreshed ahead of the upcoming season.

The skipper said the pain of losing last season's epic grand final against the Brisbane Roar will inspire the team to work as hard as possible before the opening round in October.

The defensive stalwart has liked what he has seen during his short time back on the coast.

While Mariners coach Graham Arnold has improved the depth in the squad with several signings, it is the familiar faces that most excite Wilkinson.

"We had a great season last year so we didn't have to make too many changes," the central defender said.

"We've kept the bulk of the squad and added some real quality in key positions."

"The squad has got a really good feel to it."

Wilkinson's partnership in the heart of defence with veteran Patrick Zwaanswijk was a key to the Mariners charge last campaign.

The pair will again be vital, while Arnold has ensured the competition for spots in the midfield is intense with several news faces joining the club including Adriana Pellegrino and Stuart Musialik, who both boast plenty of A-League experience.

"All of us cannot wait for the season to start," Wilkinson said.

"We've done a lot of injury prevention stuff and things will start to intensify over the next few weeks."