Teenaged striker Tyler Boyd will today dedicate his first Phoenix start to his ailing grandfather, who is in poor health in the Philippines.
And Boyd, who arrived at the club's academy this season as an unknown from the Waikato, said there would be no better time to score his first A-League goal.
"Definitely, if I can score for my ill granddad, that would be amazing," Boyd said.
"He had diabetes but he got in an accident and he's having liver failure and he's just not looking good. I don't know whether he'll make it till then but I hope so. I'll probably dedicate the game to him if I do get to play. I didn't always get to see him much but he's pretty dear to me."
Boyd looks a real prospect with his pace and energy although he is yet to convert one of his chances into a goal.
He stepped up to the penalty spot in Sunday's 3-1 loss in Adelaide, but was denied by two outstanding saves from Socceroos goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic.
Boyd will have to get the better of another Australian international today in the Mariners' Mat Ryan.
"I thought I hit it pretty well but he made two unbelievable saves and I just have to forget about that and move on to the next game. Getting regular A-League starts, or even gametime, is exciting, so I'm excited about the prospect of that."
Central Coast have conceded just eight goals in 11 games and young Aussie centre back Trent Sainsbury has benefited from the tutelage of experienced Dutchman Patrick Zwaanswijk.
Jeremy Brockie returns from a hamstring injury to lead the Phoenix line, while Boyd and Louis Fenton will be doing plenty of running up and down the flanks in competition with the Mariners' excellent fullbacks Pedj Bojic and Josh Rose.
"At the start I was pretty nervous but I'm getting used to it," Boyd said.
"The pace and the strength of the players and the speed you have to move the ball and the speed you have to make decisions."
Paul Ifill will be out for 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his ankle and his absence has opened up increased opportunities for a raft of attackers.
As well as Boyd and Fenton, Benjamin Totori should also be in line for some more gametime over the next month.
- The Dominion Post
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