Marrone Hopeful Of Finals Qualification

Melbourne Heart FC defender Michael Marrone feels victory over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday will all but ensure the side makes a debut Hyundai A-League finals appearance this season.

Melbourne Heart FC defender Michael Marrone feels victory over Wellington Phoenix on Saturday will all but ensure the side makes a debut Hyundai A-League finals appearance this season.

With three matches remaining, Heart lies fifth on the table, three points clear of seventh placed Sydney FC, its opponent next week, while sitting level with its closest rival, Newcastle Jets.

“I think getting three points will pretty much ensure we make the finals, so it-s going to be pretty important we get a result against Wellington, otherwise other teams will start catching us,” he said.

“You-ve got Sydney and teams like that just behind us so we definitely need to get a positive result.” Finals football has long been the stated ambition from all within the Heart camp this season.

Although a stellar run through November and December provided a glimpse of what was possible with a full squad at Head Coach John van ‘t Schip-s disposal, the side largely ignored the heady rhetoric.

While the prospect of a home final still remains firmly on the radar, with a triumph over Wellington moving Heart within two points of the outfit, Marrone said the side has blocked out discussion concerning the table-s complexion, and simply has its sights sets on achieving its initial goal.

“We just want to finish as high as possible,” he said.

“I think we-ve got a good squad together. Finally, at the end of the season, pretty much everyone is fit, and we-ve got good competition within the squad. Hopefully we can churn out some good results leading into the finals and do well.”

Strong results against competition front runners Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar in recent weeks suggests Heart looms as a potential dark horse should the Red and White feature in the finals series.

Although Marrone admits the squad-s confidence has been bolstered by recent performances, he feels Wellington will pose a fresh challenge altogether.

“I think knowing we can play well against the best sides, Central Coast and Brisbane, is all positive,” he said.

“Looking to Wellington, they-re a different kind of team. They-re a physical team and score a lot of goals, especially away from home now, they-re doing quite well.”