The Central Coast Mariners are hoping that a return of imports Tom Hiariej and Asdrubal to full fitness can re-spark their form after a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Melbourne City last weekend.

Asdrubal has been out of the side with an injury since the Mariners’ 2-0 win over table topping Sydney FC, while Hiariej picked up a knock in training that kept him out of last weekend’s loss.

Hiariej’s fitness is uncertain at this stage but Mariners coach Paul Okon is confident that at least his Spanish striker will be available.

“Asdrubal will certainly be back next week,” said Okon on Sunday night.

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That assertion was backed up in training on Thursday with the Spaniard putting in a good performance in the heat. Midfielder Andrew Hoole is looking forward to what the striker’s return could mean for the side.

“A bit of composure on the ball. He keeps the ball in tight areas,” said Hoole. “He always gives you that energy upfront.”

In the meantime the Mariners will wait on a final call on Hiariej but are confident that with their dutchman or with his replacement, Josh Rose, they can get the job done.   

“I think Rosey did a good job for us,” said Hoole. “Whoever comes in is going to do a good job.”

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Nevertheless, the addition of Hiariej would be a welcome one for a Mariners side that will be looking to take full advantage of a struggling Western Sydney Wanderers who couldn’t be lower after the 5-0 drubbing they suffered in the Sydney Derby.  

“I watched the whole game,” said Hoole. “They were good in some areas and poor in other areas. But they’ll be looking to get back to winning ways. 5-0 is not an easy loss to take.”

Hoole will be looking to make sure that doesn’t happen as the former Jet and Sydney FC midfielder is set to make his 100th A-League appearance and would prefer to do so with a win.

“They’re coming to the Central Coast to get three points but we’re looking to get back to winning ways ourselves,” said Hoole.

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Football fan, writer, and post-grad journalism student at the University of Technology Sydney. Joined the team in 2017 to cover Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners.