Central Coast Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery is ecstatic to be back for pre-season training, with the squad officially returning to the Centre of Excellence of Monday.
A month and a half after our historic 6-1 victory over Melbourne City to win the A-League Championship, our 2023/24 pre-season has begun as we look ahead to our first Australia Cup game against Sydney FC on August 13th.
“It feels fantastic to be back. I can’t believe that it has been six weeks since the final but to get everybody back and get on the training pitch and just feel that grass under your feet, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to,” Montgomery said.
“It was a great atmosphere yesterday, a few new players coming in, obviously young boys coming back, always changes, we lost a few last season as well. That’s normal, that’s football.
“Right now, we’re still looking at recruiting some players in and there’s still possibly some movement as well but until the window closes, I think every club is in the same situation. To be back for pre-season and looking forward to the new season is fantastic.”
The squad will not be staying on the Central Coast for long, departing for a pre-season trip to Thailand on Wednesday. The trip, which will last over a week, will see the team travel to train and play friendly games in preparation for the season.
Through a contact of Montgomery’s the team will be staying and training in a top class facility, experiencing the climate conditions that we will face during the upcoming AFC Cup.
“We are heading on a preseason trip to Thailand tomorrow. I think it’s important that we get the team together and we can go to a hot climate. We are going to be playing AFC Cup games where we have to travel to the likes of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand for example,” he said.
“We came back a little bit later than everybody else due the final, that’s just the way it is. That means we have a couple of weeks to prepare for Sydney. Right now the Thai teams are in their pre-season like us and through a contact of mine we have managed to get a trip to Thailand to a good facility and we’ve got three games against three teams.
“This will be a great opportunity for us to play games in the heat and train at a good facility and take a good squad of players so that we can give game time to everybody. We will really use it as a foundation to build on. Not only the pre-season, but the season ahead, which includes all three of the competitions that we will be vying for.”
While most of the team returned on Monday, the entire squad will not be fully reunited for the next few weeks. Brian Kaltak will return soon after an extended stay in Vanuatu, while Marco Tulio will arrive at the Centre of Excellence tomorrow before flying out with the squad to Thailand.
“We’ve got players coming in and we’re working on players at the minute but it’s a long pre-season and we’re looking forward to reshaping the squad,” he said.
“We’ve got a couple that we gave a little bit more time off. Brian Kaltak spent a couple of weeks on international duty, so I think it’s important that he had a few extra weeks off, he won’t be back until next week.
“Marco also arrives tomorrow; he’s spent some time with his family in Brazil. He’ll be joining us on our trip to Thailand on Wednesday. We know what fantastic players the two of them are and it will be brilliant to get everybody together and start preparing for Sydney FC.”