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By ESPN Staff

Heffernan returns to the Central Coast

The Central Coast Mariners have received a major boost ahead of their third A-League campaign, with season-one sensation Dean Heffernan signing on until 2010.

Heffernan has returned home after a year with German Bundesliga side FC Nurnberg, who signed the dynamic wingback on loan for the 2006-07 season following his outstanding debut year with the Mariners.

Heffernan was restricted to non-competitive appearances for FC Nurnberg's first team because of injury and the form of Argentine left back Javier Pinola.

Ultimately, the incentive of Socceroo selection through regular visibility in the A-League and the attraction of the Central Coast lifestyle were the deciding factors in the 27-year-old's return, despite receiving offers from England, Germany and Norway.

"We've made no secret of our desire to see Dean return to the Central Coast and it is with much delight that we are able to confirm today that one of the real crowd favourites at Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium will be wearing Mariners colours until 2010," Mariners executive chairman Lyall Gorman said.

"As soon as we were ruled out of contention for a finals series place in 2006-07, the coaching staff and I identified some areas in personnel that required attention and I strongly believe that we've ticked all the boxes.

"We've attracted a proven striker to the club in Sasho Petrovski, an electrifying attacker in Greg Owens, one of Australia's real emerging talents in Mile Jedinak and now welcomed back arguably the most exciting left back in two editions of the Hyundai A-League - Dean Heffernan."

Heffernan netted eight goals in 31 games for the Mariners in season one.