Garcia: Competition for places will heat up

With three Melbourne Heart FC stars returning to the squad this week, midfielder Richard Garcia expects competition for spots in the line-up to heat up.

With three Melbourne Heart FC stars returning to the squad this weekend, midfielder Richard Garcia expects competition for spots in the line-up to heat up as players return home from Socceroo duty.

The Heart and Socceroo midfielder returned home from national duty yesterday, alongside teammates Aziz Behich and Michael Marrone, following a successful qualification campaign for the 2013 East Asian Cup.

However, despite the trio illustrating their form at the national level, Garcia does not expect any favours from Head Coach John Aloisi.

“I don-t expect to just walk back into the side - the team-s done well since we-ve been away.” Garcia told the press this afternoon.

“We-ve had a hard couple of weeks and Friday-s going to be another hard game.”

The Socceroos- week-long campaign also saw the development of left-back Aziz Behich and the debut Michael Marrone.

Despite their frantic schedule, Garcia does not expect fatigue to play a part this weekend as the side prepares to take on the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.

“I feel pretty good… The medical staff here and with the Socceroos are mindful that we-ve got games so they try to prepare us in the best way possible," Garcia said.

“Under difficult circumstances, it [the campaign] was pretty good… We got the job done and that-s what we were there to do.”

The Mariners currently sit top of the Hyundai A-League table following a 2-0 defeat of the Newcastle Jets.

However, while the Mariners defeated the Red and White in an earlier encounter this season, Garcia believes the tables can be turned this Friday night.

“They-re a very structured team, well organized,” Garcia said.

“We-re doing pretty well at the moment and they-ve been doing well all season, so we-ve got to go there and continue the form that we-ve been in.”