Off the back of a tough result against Melbourne last Sunday afternoon, Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery is ready for a big final five rounds of the A-League regular season.
Our head coach and the team have two weeks to prepare for our next game against Brisbane Roar, with the side using the time to get players back and prepare for our run home.
“We went [to AAMI Park] with a game plan that I think could have won the game if we showed a bit more urgency and didn’t give sloppy goals away,” Montgomery said.
“We couldn’t manage to break them down, even penalties were overturned, and some decisions didn’t go our way. That was disappointing, three points, a missed opportunity, but it is gone now, and we have five games to go.”
The head coach is not dwelling on the trip, immediately focused on securing a positive result against Brisbane in our next match.
That game the first at Our Paradise in almost a month, with Montgomery excited to get into the back end of the season.
“We move on, we are looking forward to these two weeks to get everybody back and fit in the squad. We have been thin for the last five or six weeks with injuries, suspensions and Nectar being away on youth international duty,” he said.
“It’s the first time in a while we’ve got everybody back fit, I’m really looking forward to the last five games.”
Our head coach believes that the break has come at the perfect time, after the Mariners have had numerous players out for various reasons.
Whether it has been due to suspension, injury or international duty, Montgomery has needed to draw on his depth over the past month.
This resulted in our head coach using 11 players under the age of 23 in the match against Macarthur in Mudgee, with nine of them coming from the Central Coast Mariners academy.
Those players received plaudits from Montgomery, with the head coach pleased with how they performed in the crucial victory.
The side will see the return of numerous players in the lead up to the game against Brisbane, giving Montgomery the perfect headache with everyone fighting for spots.
“The break has come at a good time, we have had players out suspended and injured. For our next game we will have Beni Nkololo back, Dylan Wenzel-Halls is back, fit and 100%,” he said.
“He has two weeks to get himself game fit and ready. Jacob Farrell has also been out sick so he has been in this week. We have two weeks and it is going to be tough to pick the squad. For the last five games we need our strongest players to be fit and available, fighting for spots.”
Heading into the final passage of regular season games, Montgomery’s eyes are firmly set on a finals berth, as they have been since the very start of the season.
Points are vital over the coming games, with our head coach confident that we can secure the results we need.
Montgomery knowing that the squad have the ability to beat anyone at any stadium, with belief high in the group.
“At the start of the season, I said that we wanted to make the top six. Every point counts from now. We will go out like we do for every game, take it as it comes,” he said.
“We have Brisbane and Melbourne City at home along with some away games, we know we can go anywhere and win games and at home we are a strong team,” he said.
“We will focus on every game, teams at the bottom are fighting and the teams at the top are fighting, so it is exciting for the competition.”