Central Coast Mariners Football Manager Mark Jackson is thrilled to be able to take charge of his first A-League Men’s game tonight, having joined the club just under a month ago.
The Englishman knowing that the match will be a challenge away from home, but confident that the squad has what it takes to secure the three points.
“I am definitely excited (for tonight), that is the main emotion that I am currently feeling and have been since I arrived. There is also an air of responsibility that I am fully aware of, that we need to continue the work that the club has done over the past years,” he said.
“I know that it will be a tough match, like any game we analyse them and cover all of our bases. They have an experienced manager who has been there for a few years, and I have been told that it is a great place to go and play football. We are ready for it and go in confident.”
Jackson has been exceptionally pleased with the environment that he has joined, especially the culture around the club and team.
The squad still an extremely tight-knit group despite the large number of player’s joining in the off-season.
“I noticed from the very start that there is a really good culture here and with the team. That surprised me with the amount of new players that have come in because that does take time to build,” he said.
“We have a great starting point at the moment and that is something that I see as very important for a team.”
Similar to last season, the average age of the squad is still quite small, likely to be one of the youngest in the league.
Jackson is excited for this to be the case, with his experience working with emerging footballing talent leaving him in the perfect position to get the best out of our talented youngsters.
“We have a lot of youth this season and again will be one of the youngest teams in the league. That is good for me as a manager as that is something that I have experience in and is my background, working with young players,” he said.
“We also have some good, experienced players which will be important, but also putting that ownership on the young players to have that freedom to become leaders themselves. When working with young players they sometimes don’t have that fear factor which good for us as well.
“I am excited, it is a young team, we know mistakes will be made but there is a really high level of willingness to continue to learn.”
The Mariners begin their A-League Men’s Championship defence tonight against Adelaide United, with kick off at 7:45pm. Watch the game live on Paramount+.