Monty’s Midweek Update: Round 23

Central Coast Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery was pleased with the sides 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar, as the Mariners pushed back up to third on the Isuzu UTE A-League Men’s ladder. 

One of many things that Montgomery was especially happy about included midfielder and fan favourite Josh Nisbet getting on the scoresheet for the first time this season.

“I was really happy for Nizzy to get his goal; he scored one last year against the Jets and I’ve been giving him a bit of stick this year. He is always getting in positions, but I have a bit of a laugh that he gets a nose bleed when he gets in and around the box,” he said. 

“He isn’t that used to it, but we have been encouraging it. Him and Max Balard, for both of them to get a goal, unfortunately Max’s was chalked off as an own goal, but I was really pleased for them. He has broken that duck, maybe he can get a few more before the end of this season.”

Our head coach is not taking this Friday’s trip to Ballarat lightly, knowing the firepower that Western United possess. Currently in ninth with 26 points, they are only a win outside the finals positions. 

With that being said, Montgomery is confident, ready to continue last weekend’s momentum into Friday. 

“Last year they made it into the finals and were crowned champions. All credit to them, John did a great job steering them through to that championship. They have a big budget with lots of experienced players and visa players,” he said. 

“We have played them a few times last year and this year and have fared against them well, so we go there full of confidence. They are a good team who are on a bit of a run. 

“Everyone is desperate to get back into finals, but we just need to focus on ourselves, go into the game full of confidence like we do every week and go to try and win the match. Nothing changes in the game plan, but we will give them the respect they deserve.”

With just four games to go this season, the Mariners sit in third on 34 points. The side equal with Western Sydney, ahead on goal difference, and three points ahead of Wellington. 

With the top four all guaranteed a home final at some stage, Montgomery has his eyes firmly on achieving that. 

“We obviously want a home final. Last year we missed out on the last game of the season when results didn’t go for us. That was last year and this year we want to do everything possible to get a home final for the fans,” he said. 

“We love playing at this stadium, but if it isn’t the case we will go anywhere and be confident that we can win.”

Last weekend was the first match in weeks that the Mariners had the full squad at their disposal.

Montgomery especially pleased to have been able to give Dylan Wenzel-Halls his Mariners debut, alongside having both Brian Kaltak and Nectar Triantis back in the centre of defence. 

“It is great to have Dylan Wenzel-Halls back, it has been a long time coming for him and really pleased that he could make his debut on the weekend. I desperately wanted him to get some minutes so he can tick that off and take the pressure off him,” he said. 

“To have that sort of fire power with him and Moresche coming into the squad, Marco and Jason hitting some form, we are in a good space. 

“Brian and Nectar have been our first choice centre back pairing this season, so to have them both missing for a few weeks was hard. They put in an unbelievable performance on the weekend, we looked really solid. To have the heart of the defence back was also great.”