Mariners striker lays out welcome mat for Garcia

REACTIONS to Central Coast's signing of Spanish veteran Luis Garcia this week have been mixed to say the least.

The 37-year-old is a former Champions League and FA Cup winner, but most recently has been plying his trade in the Indian Super League, causing some critics to question what value he can bring to the struggling A-League team.

One person who is more than happy to see him at Gosford, however, is Mariners striker Josh Bingham.

"His football calibre and experience will be unreal for our young team, and for the people of the Central Coast," the 21-year-old told APN.

"As you've seen over the years, he's a phenomenal player with a great passing range, who can also pop up and score."

That's exactly what the Mariners need. They have scored 19 goals but conceded 35 for just two wins this campaign.

But they have shown glimpses of improvement to start 2016, drawing 3-all with champions the Melbourne Victory on January 8, after scoring three first-half goals. They also beat Wellington 3-1 on New Years Eve.

"The belief is still there. We had a great performance against the champions, but we know we need to play the full 90 minutes to win games," Bingham said.

The young striker, who has scored two goals from his 10 games this season, said another of Garcia's strengths would be linking up with speedy wingers Fabio Ferreira and Mitch Austin, which he said would be key to beating the Wanderers tonight.

"We need to keep the ball and keep it away from (Wanderers winger and Dutch international) Romeo Castelen, use our pace out wide, and get in behind them to exploit them," he said.

Despite his team's lowly position, Bingham said the Mariners' coaching staff had been fantastic in helping develop his game.

The club parted ways with defender Matt Sim this week, while Francesco Stella will get his first start for the club in the playmaking role, and former Young Socceroo Matt Fletcher appears certain to start up front.

Jacob Poscoliero returns from suspension, while new signing Brad McDonald is also in the match-day squad.

For the Wanderers, Brendon Santalab, Jonathan Aspropotamitis and Mario Shabow have been promoted.

The teams have shared the spoils in their 12 A-League clashes, with the ledger standing at four wins, four draws and four losses each.

Just 17 goals have been scored in those matches, the Wanderers outscoring the Mariners 9-8.

Striker Mark Bridge will play his 100th match for the Wanderers.



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