Central Coast Mariners defender Andrew Clark’s experience in Asia could hold the key to the club’s success in the Asian Champions League.
Clark spent about eight months in Hong Kong playing with Five-One-Seven FC in 1997/98 and also had a stint with Malaysian club Kedah in 2003 so he knows what conditions to expect when the Mariners take on Chinese Tianjin Teda in tonight’s second group match of the ACL.
The 34-year old veteran has also taken on the role as the Mariners’ Strength and Conditioning coach and landed in China a day before his teammates to prepare for the important clash.
"It was great when we first qualified for the AFC Champions League and to now actually be playing in the games that we’ve planned to play in for so long is a great thing and I hope that we get the chance to go as far as we can in this competition and then experience this again," said Clark.
"I definitely think that we’ve done everything in our power to win this game, the players are confident now, given the experiences that we’ve had, that we can beat any team in this competition and that we’re well and truly good enough to be here.
"I don’t think it’s beyond the question to get a result and if we do get a result, why not a win?
"It was a 23-hour trip yesterday for the boys and we completed a light session this morning – just stretching the legs and making sure that everyone was feeling OK," added Clark.
"So far it looks as though everyone has come through the trip very well and in high spirits, so our session this afternoon will be good to get us on the Tianjin Teda Stadium pitch and prepare us for the game in a few days time.
"I’m sure when we play at 8pm at night it’ll be close to zero, which is good conditions to play football in, we’ll be full of running after being used to playing in 30 degrees."