Central Coast's Graham Arnold and Alex Wilkinson.
Central Coast's Graham Arnold and Alex Wilkinson. Getty Images Sport - Ryan Pierse

More matches, no problems

PLAYING an extra match to get to the A-League grand final will not prove a problem for the Central Coast Mariners, says skipper Alex Wilkinson.

The Mariners face Perth Glory in Saturday night's cut-throat preliminary final at Bluetongue Stadium and follow that up with a long trek to South Korea to take on Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday.

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But far from being daunted at the prospect of three games in a week, Wilkinson says he and his teammates are looking forward to the challenge.

"If anything, you enjoy playing the games," he said.

"This is the time of the year that you want to be involved in.

"The AFC Champions League is a fantastic competition that we're fully embracing and enjoying. And it's the finals series, so it's not like it's tough to get up for games at the moment," he said.

The team was given a well-earned two-day break by coach Graham Arnold in an attempt to freshen up the players ahead of the big week.

Wilkinson said the team would be prepared for whatever the Glory could throw at them come Saturday.

"They're (Glory) on a good roll," he said.

"They've probably scored 10 goals in the last three games so they're definitely going to be tough. But obviously we're at home and as 'Arnie' said the performance (against Brisbane) was pretty good.

"A lesser team at 2-0 down could have chucked it in and it could have been four or five.

"But the spirit we've got in the change room is fantastic here, the boys always work for each other.

"There's a great great belief in each other."


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