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Heart braced for tough encounter

By Football News



Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi is wary of the Central Coast Mariners ahead of Sunday's meeting between the two sides at AAMI Park.

Central Coast have scored just two goals in their three matches this season and sit sixth after losing last week's F3 derby to the Newcastle Jets.

The Mariners have an excellent record against Heart, winning four of their six meetings, and Aloisi, who had a brief stint at Central Coast as a player in 2007/08, knows Graham Arnold's side will come to play on Sunday.

"We know Mariners are going to be tough game," Aloisi said on Saturday.

"They're a good side. Mariners have got a good squad, no doubt about it. They've probably got the best squad along with probably Perth and Brisbane in the league."

Aloisi said he was aware of the ability Central Coast's attacking players possess and hinted that his side would pay particular attention to the Mariners' wide players.

"They've had players there since day one which has helped them a lot," he said.

"John Hutchinson is a great player and a good leader, so I don't buy into to the (talk) that they haven't got a good squad, they've got a very good squad and have a lot of options.

"I'm wary of all their players. They have Mile Sterjovski, a proven international that played in a World Cup, up front (Bernie) Ibini is good, while (Daniel) McBreen has been around for years now.

"Particularly their full-backs are players that are, given width and opportunity, good at getting balls into the box, they like to get crosses in. And everyone knows (Tom) Rogic, the talented player that he is."

But despite being focused on stopping the Mariners, Aloisi believes his team can notch their second win of the season if they are able to play their attractive, possession-based game.

"We're confident if we play the way we know how to play, we can come away with a positive result," he said.

Heart sit seventh on the table, with one win from their three matches this season.