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The captain of the reigning champions believes his team-mates have an opportunity to improve their recent performance level against their local rivals, who are ripe for the taking

Central Coast Mariners captain John Hutchinson has targeted a more complete performance from his side in Saturday night's F3 Derby against Newcastle.

The Mariners sit third after three rounds as they look to defend their A-League championship but have looked rusty in their past two matches.

After a 1-1 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers in the opening round, Central Coast needed two second-half penalties to draw 2-2 with Melbourne Heart and then won 1-0 over Adelaide United last week despite conceding over 65 percent possession to the Reds.

Central Coast are set to travel the 90 kilometres north to Newcastle on Saturday to take on the Jets in the A-League's oldest derby and Hutchinson wants to see the Mariners 'back up their home form' with success at Hunter Stadium.

"We need to make sure our performance is better than the Adelaide game," the 33-year-old midfielder said on Friday.

"We played well but we played well in patches and the boys have had a good week of training ... we're just looking forward to another derby kicking off."

The Jets will enter the first F3 Derby of the 2013-14 A-League season on the back of two straight scoreless draws, while they lost their opening game 2-0 to Sydney FC.

Newcastle are the only club yet to find the back of the net this season and speculation about the future of head coach Gary van Egmond has already begun.

The Jets have been derided for their underwhelming performances and Hutchinson could not resist giving Newcastle a back-handed complement, underlining why the Mariners' arch-rivals are expected to do better.

"They've got a great squad this year," Hutchinson said.

"They've got Socceroos in there, Young Socceroos, so there's a lot of pressure on them, given the squad they've got.

"You know, the young boys (at the Jets) have grown up now, so they need to start performing."

Hutchinson added he and his team-mates are aware how important the F3 Derby is to Central Coast's supporters.

"We know that they probably want this win more than any other game, so we're going to hopefully win for them," the Mariners skipper said.

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