Duke relishing A-League return to Gosford

Mitchell Duke has happy central coast memories for Western Sydney's A-League clash with the Mariners
Mitchell Duke has happy central coast memories for Western Sydney's A-League clash with the Mariners

Western Sydney Wanderers forward Mitchell Duke wants to add his bank of happy memories at the Central Coast Mariners when he plays at Gosford for the first time in four years.

Duke played in the Mariners side that won the A-League Premiers Plate in 2011-12 and came off the bench in their 2012-13 grand final win over the Wanderers.

He spent five seasons with Central Coast and the past four in Japan before returning to Australia early this year.

Duke has scored four times in nine games for the Wanderers as he plays in Gosford on Saturday for the first time since February 2015.

'It's going to be a bit surreal I think playing at the stadium on the opposing side," Duke said.

"I'm excited to go there and play, it's a great stadium.

"I started my professional career there and also won the league and the championship while I was there, so I had great success, so many amazing memories and something that will last forever.

'But now I'm with the Wanderers so I'm looking forward to creating some memories here as well."

Mariners' caretaker coach Alen Stajcic is wary of the danger Duke poses to his side.

'Mitchell Duke has come in and given them a lot of life a lot of threat down the right wing," Stajcic said.

'I think Duke gives them a lot of power and he's allowed (Oriel) Riera and (Roly) Bonevacia to be a lot more dangerous.

"They've really improved over the last three or four weeks and they've found a better balance than they had earlier in the year."

Mariners have lost their past three after a first-up win under Stajcic.

They will finish bottom for the second straight season and the third time in the past four.

Wanderers have won their two previous fixtures this season against the Mariners.

"We know with the change of coach they are more structured now, there's more discipline on the pitch now," Wanderers' coach Markus Babbel said.

Wanderers veteran Mark Bridge will chalk up his 250th A-League appearance if he plays any part of Saturday's game.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Wanderers have won their past four A-League games against Central Coast

* Mariners have lost their past five matches to Wanderers at Central Coast Stadium.

* Central Coast have conceded 20 goals in their past five home game in Gosford, losing each of those matches.

Stats supplied by Opta

Australian Associated Press