For the first time in three seasons, Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Justin Pasfield started the opening round of the A-League between the posts and said his impressive performance against Western Sydney Wanderers set his standard for the course of the season.
The long-term deputy has been given a chance to cement the No.1 position at the club following the departure of Mat Ryan to Club Brugge and Pasfield says he has no plans to let it slip from his grasp.
The 28-year-old produced a number of fine reflex saves against the Wanderers last week and earned the approval of Mariners coach Graham Arnold, who informed him of the high performances standards he had set. Despite the pressure, Pasfield welcomes the challenge laid down by his boss.
"He [Arnold] said you have to set your goals and make sure you play consistent week-in, week-out, and after the game he said, 'You set your own standard now', so that's the standard I need to keep up for the rest of the season," Pasfield said.
Pasfield patiently bided his time for a shot at the No. 1 jersey at the club after spending the past two seasons on the bench at Bluetongue Stadium. The arrival of former Sydney FC, Newcastle and Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Liam Reddy creates healthy competition for a place in the starting line-up but Pasfield is determined to become the club's long-term custodian in goals.
"It's well documented that I haven't really played much over the last couple of years apart from when I was at North Queensland," he said. "Now it's my turn to really step up my game. I'm really excited. I love the club I'm at, the culture of the club, the coaching stuff."
Meanwhile, Fairfax Media understands attacking midfielder Mike McGlinchey could be a surprise inclusion in the Mariners squad for their match against Melbourne Heart on Saturday when he returns from international duty on Friday.
The New Zealander has not been named in the squad to travel to Melbourne, but could be a late addition should he be deemed fit to play.