Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss says supporters may get their first look at one of the Club’s new attacking recruits when the yellow and navy challenge NPL NSW Mens 1 outfit South Coast Wolves in the Westfield FFA Cup in Wollongong on Wednesday evening.
Malick Mané – who has joined the Mariners on-loan from Swedish Allsvenskan outfit IFK Göteborg until the end of Hyundai A-League season ten – has trained well with his new teammates since arriving in Australia last week, and Moss rates the Senegalese striker as a 70 per cent chance to feature at WIN Stadium.
Fellow attacking utility, Hungarian Richi Vernes, arrived at the Club from Europe at the weekend, and although he too has impressed Moss in his limited time on the training track thus far, Moss believes it may be slightly too soon to throw the Budapest Honvéd loanee into competitive action.
“He’s (Mané) been looking good on the training pitch and he’s brought a real sense of power and dynamism to the team,” Moss told media on Tuesday. “I really like the way he plays. He’s switched on defensively as well, he’s prepared to work hard for the team, and they’re the type of players that we want at the Mariners.”
“Malick is new to the A-League and he is a different style of player to what we’ve had in the past. IFK Göteborg are playing in the Swedish top division and he’s played Europa League, so I am expecting him to bring that experience and quality to the A-League,” he said.
Despite having new players Mané and Vernes to draw on in attack, Moss believes the Mariners are already well stocked in the front third for the Club’s historic first ever Westfield FFA Cup encounter.
Indeed, Moss has been impressed with the pre-season efforts of Mitch Duke, Isaka Cernak, Nick Fitzgerald, and Tom Slater, among others, ensuring he’ll have a host of weapons to draw on as the yellow and navy aim to advance to the last 16 of the Cup at the expense of Nahuel Arrate’s outfit.
“There is a lot of competition for spots,” Moss said. “This is the first chance for players to put their hand up and say that they want a spot for the first A-League game.”
“(Nick) Fitzgerald’s going great, (Mitch) Duke, fantastic, Isaka Cernak has been very, very strong in pre-season, and we’ve got young Tommy Slater as well, so the competition is fierce.”
Although the Mariners have played just one friendly match – a 4-1 win over the Club’s Academy outfit last week – ahead of their Westfield FFA Cup debut against South Coast, Moss knows that his men can ill-afford to take their opponents lightly.
In fact, Moss has stressed to his players that they will need to be on their game against the Wollongong-based side, with the semi-pro Wolves players sure to be up for the occasion in front of their family and friends.
“I am expecting a very, very competitive game tomorrow night,” he said. “They’ve (Wolves) finished their season and they’re not in the finals, so they’ve got everything to play for tomorrow night and nothing to lose.”
“I know that they will be match hardened and that there will be good intensity from them – they have got some players that can hurt you if you’re not on your game.”
“It’s not going to be handed to us on a platter – we need to make sure that we go and play as a team and play to our strengths.”
“It’s an honour for us to be in the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup and it’s a competition that every Australian football club should take seriously. It certainly connects the community and grassroots football with the professional ranks.”
“Every player that plays in it should be aspiring to play Hyundai A-League if they’re not already, or use the FFA Cup to launch their career into the Hyundai A-League or overseas. So everyone is playing for something and certainly no Hyundai A-League club wants to be knocked out by a State League club, and we’ve already seen that happen, so we’ll be on our toes tomorrow night.”
“It’s good to have a meaningful game in our pre-season ahead of the tenth season of the Hyundai A-League,” he concluded.
Central Coast Mariners will provide a live stream of the match from Wollongong on the Club’s website (www.CCMariners.com.au), commencing at approximately 7:20pm tomorrow evening. Kick-off at WIN Stadium is at 7:30pm.
Westfield FFA Cup 2014 – South Coast Wolves vs. Central Coast Mariners
When: Wednesday 20 August, 2014
Where: WIN Stadium, Wollongong (Corner of Crown & Harbour Streets)
Twitter: Join the match conversation using #SCWvCCM
Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets to the match