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Ibini poised for Mariners return

Bernie Ibini has a big chance to play when Central Coast hosts Adelaide in a top of the table A-League clash in Gosford on Friday.

Ibini, 20, spent more than a week training with Belgium heavyweights Club Brugge and impressed in the limited time he had to shine.

He got back in Australia on Wednesday and trained on Thursday.

With star playmaker Tomas Rogic gone, Central Coast coach Graham Arnold is hopeful Ibini will stay at the Mariners for the rest of the season.

But whether or not that happens remains in doubt. It is believed Club Brugge officials were extremely impressed with Ibini during his short training stint.

“From what I’ve heard he did very well in terrible weather conditions,” Arnold said of his young striker.

“There’s been no offer as yet so it’s up to Club Brugge now. We’d love for him to stay on the coast for the season and then go, but who knows what will happen.

“We’re glad to have him back for Friday night.”

Meanwhile, Arnold has not ruled out playing new signing Nick Fitzgerald against Adelaide.

With Rogic gone and Ibini’s future uncertain, the Mariners coach moved quickly this week to bring Fitzgerald from Brisbane earlier than first planned after he initially signed a deal for the next two A-League seasons.

He also trained with the Mariners on Thursday and will play out the season with the club where he began his A-League career.

After two disappointing draws, Arnold said he wants ‘a positive reaction’ against Adelaide.

The Mariners are three points clear of Adelaide in top spot.

Thu 24 January, 2013
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