CENTRAL Coast Mariners boss Lawrie McKinna believes the best way to unsettle Sydney FC is to frustrate them at every turn – and that’s exactly what he’ll instruct his players to do this afternoon.The Mariners have proven their mettle this season as having arguably the league’s toughest defence but, aside from the 0-0 draw in round three, matches between the two clubs have historically been marked by poor defending.McKinna said the key to holding the Sky Blues on that occasion was getting in their face and not allowing them time on the ball.”I think what we did then really well was frustrate them the whole time and eventually the game swung in our favour,” McKinna said yesterday. ”Defensively they were pretty good, but obviously they went for the long ball quite a bit and that was because we frustrated them. We’ll definitely be trying to do that again tomorrow.”The only negative for the Mariners on that occasion was seeing Clint Bolton stop Adam Kwasnik’s injury-time penalty – which, as McKinna points out, would see the Mariners on top of the league now had it been converted.Still, McKinna is of the view that frustrating Sydney doesn’t necessarily mean dumping every man behind the ball and he’ll be instructing them to press with purpose when the time is right.”Just looking at Sydney over the past few weeks, we’ll probably try and use our width and that could be the key,” he said. ”We need to be patient when we have the ball rather than rushing things. There’s no use getting the ball off them and then giving it straight back.”If you look at how we played against Wellington last week, it was reasonable performance in difficult conditions and we played some good football. We probably didn’t create as many chances as we have been and that’s probably where we need to get a lift out of our midfield.”The Mariners’ coaching staff have also identified nullifying Sydney’s front pairing of Mark Bridge and Alex Brosque as a key issue.”Bridgey in particular just loves playing against us so we really need to close him down,” McKinna said. ”Together they’re very dangerous and we need to watch them closely.”McKinna will be sweating over the fitness of key striker Matt Simon, who is battling a hip flexor injury sustained during the draw against Wellington and has continued to give him problems all week.”He’s the only potential change from last weekend and he’s just been struggling with it all week,” McKinna said. ”We’ve got [Adam] Kwasnik and [Nik] Mrdja on stand-by if he doesn’t make it but we’ll see how he pulls up in the morning.”
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