Alan Baro returns to the Mariners against the Phoenix in New Zealand
Alan Baro returns to the Mariners against the Phoenix in New Zealand DAN HIMBRECHTS

Mariners have the desire, but need the wins

PAUL Okon likes his team's desire but says the Central Coast Mariners must cut out mistakes if they are to move away from the bottom of the A-League.

Only tonight's opponents in Wellington, the Phoenix, are below them, but the Mariners have upset the likes of Sydney this season already.

Okon says his side has got into good positions - they have led in six of their seven games in which there has been a goal - but has thrown those away on occasions.

The Mariners have won only once and the coach said that had to change.

"I think it's a combination of many things,” Okon said.

"It's certainly not a lack of desire. I can't fault the players on that.

"When you are winning the game, the opposition is always going to maybe take a few risks and lift intensity.

"At times we haven't dealt with that, we've forced things and probably been our own worst enemy.

"It's been disappointing in that regard because we should have more points.

"But I'd be worrying a lot more if it was the other way round and there was six games where we weren't the team to score first.

"We know that it's an area that we must improve because if we can be better in it then we're going to be winning more football games.”

Spanish striker Asdrubal is back in the squad after missing last week with a heel problem.

Josh Rose, however, has not shaken off a calf problem and will miss the match.

Skipper Alan Baro returns from a ban.

The Mariners haven't won in Wellington for five years.

"It's a long travel for us and we're going a day earlier to make sure that we prepare as best as we can and we've got plenty of energy,” Okon said.

"It's never an easy place to try and take the points but we feel that we're playing well enough.”

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