A-League side Central Coast will rest John Hutchinson and Patrick Zwaanswijk for their Asian Champions League opener on Wednesday night.
The Mariners’ Group H clash against Korean outfit Suwon Bluewings in Gosford takes place in between two massive league clashes for Central Coast.
And coach Graham Arnold is not willing to risk the veteran pair who are two of his most influential players.
“Patrick is 38 so he will be rested and Hutch (Hutchinson) had to come off with a tight groin on Saturday night (against Melbourne Victory),” Arnold said.
“Hutch is a day short.”
Zac Anderson will come into the starting side for Zwaanswijk with Oliver Bozanic likely to fill Hutchinson’s defensive midfield role.
Another player likely to come back into the Mariners squad is former Socceroo Mile Sterjovski, who was rested for the Victory encounter.
Arnold said the club’s complete focus was on the Bluewings despite the importance of Saturday’s A-League blockbuster against fellow top-two side Western Sydney, also at Gosford on Saturday night.
In two previous attempts the Mariners have not advanced beyond the group stages of Asia’s top club competition.
Last year the Mariners just missed out after scoring three draws, a win and two losses from their six matches.
“I think we had a good campaign,” he said.
“We took a lot out of It and we will be better this time. We have to be organised. They have some very good players but they have weaknesses; we have to focus on that.”