Central Coast Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery is ready for a big clash this weekend against Western Sydney Wanderers, not underestimating the side who currently sit third in the Isuzu UTE A-League competition.
The match comes off the back of a tough result in Wellington, which saw us go down 2-1 despite a dominant second half. Montgomery not making excuses for the result, keen for his young side to learn from the experience.
“It is never an easy trip over there, a couple of days away plus the time difference. It is obviously a bit of a strength for Wellington, they come out firing to begin games which we expected. We should have beaten them in the first round when we conceded a late own goal,” he said.
“This game they were a lot better than us in the first half, probably deserved the two-goal lead. We were a lot better in the second half and should have got a point at a minimum. I don’t think anyone would argue with that, 18 shots to 8 away from home. We let ourselves down in the first half, no excuses.
“We are a young team; we will learn from that. It is gone now, and we move onto this weekend’s game.”
A shining light from our trip over the ditch was Christian Theoharous, with the youngster making his club debut off the bench. During his 15 minutes the forward hit the crossbar and forced a remarkable clearance off the line, showing his clear potential just a few days after joining the squad.
“I am extremely happy with Christian’s performance. He is a very talented player and I think we saw in the fifteen minutes that he was on that he could have scored two and assisted another two,” Montgomery said.
“That is the impact that he had off the bench and he has gone a long time without playing games. Unfortunately for him he needs to get match fit and we will manage that as it comes. He got 20 minutes on the weekend, maybe next week 30 or 45 and we will just get him fit through game time.
“I’m really happy with how he has settled in, he is a fantastic person number one, and the kid has so much ability. He has already settled in, so I am looking forward to his progression over the coming weeks.”
One player who missed out on the trip to Wellington was our star man up front Jason Cummings, with Montgomery providing an update on his return.
“Jason is every chance for the weekend, he did a bit of training yesterday. With the travel and everything it wasn’t worth risking it and taking him and it worked out to be the right decision,” he said.
“On Sunday he still wasn’t feeling good so hopefully he should be available, but the squad is strong, and everyone is fighting for spots.”
Looking to this weekend’s clash against Western Sydney, Montgomery is prepared for what should be a tough game.
Our last match against the Wanderers saw the Mariners come away with a 3-0 win at Commbank Stadium, with our head coach not taking Saturday’s challenge lightly.
“We are going to approach it the same way that we do for every game, we go out to get three points. As long as we compete we know that we have the ability and the players starting and on the bench to impact games,” he said.
“They are a good team who are physical. It is always a good battle with them, and we will give them the same respect that we do everyone else. We are at home, hopefully in front of a good home crowd and we will give it a good crack.”