Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Paul Okon says that the squad travelling to Waikato to face Wellington Phoenix are motivated to return home with all three points.
After losing experienced defender Mickael Tavares through injury during the week, Okon says that his young squad will be looking for no excuses come game day.
“We’re hoping for a successful trip to New Zealand,” Okon said. “It’s always a long journey but from our perspective there’s no excuses because Wellington do this more often than we do so we’re looking forward to taking over a young squad to compete and get three points.
“I thought both Rosey and Adam Berry for 19-year-olds in a tough game against the Wanderers performed well so if they’re selected again we have full confidence in these boys and everyone in this squad. “The way we plan for things is that everyone knows what the demand of the role is so if it’s Rosey, he knows what he has to do.
Frustratingly for Okon, key moments have cost the Mariners this season which is an area that needs to be rectified against Wellington on Saturday.
“In most games this season, key moments have cost us,” Okon said. “Against Perth Paul Izzo made a great save after five minutes and that can change a game and we went on to win it so that’s a key moment. In the game against the Wanderers we could have easily gone in at half time in front so we need to be more decisive and have that cutting edge. For me that’s been a big reason that we don’t have more points.
“We’re a third of the way through the season, it’s an area that we must improve if we are serious about challenging for a top six spot,” Okon said.
Over the first nine weeks of the competition there have been some stand out young players for the Mariners but Okon’s selections are based on performances, not age.
“When selecting a team, I don’t look at their ages, they are in the squad because they’re good enough not because they’re young players,” Okon said. “If you look beyond this season it’s great for the club that these young players get as many A-League games as possible but there are times where experience counts for a lot so missing players like Monty & Tavares is going to hurt.
“There’s no whinging from us, I’m certain that the team selected for our game on Saturday will be a competitive one,” Okon said.
Across the board there is strong competition for spots and Okon says that going to New Zealand and returnng with three points would mean the world to his team and the supporters.
“It’s important that we have competition for spots in the team, every team needs it, we have it in certain positions which means everyone needs to perform,” Okon said.
“A win would mean everything,” Okon said. “It’s our third win of the season, it means we’re on 12 points, it means we return home with a big smile on our faces.
“Our supporters obviously enjoy watching us win a lot more. It’s why we’re going there, we’re going there to win and perform like we believe we can and give ourselves that opportunity,” Okon said.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 2.Jacob TRATT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Ryan LOWRY, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 11.Hamish WATSON, 12.Adam PARKHOUSE, 13.Marco ROSSI, 14.Alex RUFER, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 14.Alex RUFER (promoted), 19.Tom DOYLE (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 10.Michael McGLINCHEY (knee – 5-6 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 6.Blake POWELL, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING, 25.Ryan PETERSON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO (promoted), 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from injury), 13.Kwabena APPIAH (promoted)
Outs: 17.Josh BINGHAM (omitted)
Unavailable: 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – 2 weeks), 19.Jacques FATY (knee – 1 week), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Hyundai A-League 2016/17 – Round 10
Saturday 10 December 2016
Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: FMG Stadium Waikato, Waikato
Kick-off: 5:35pm (AEDT)
Official hash-tags: #WELvCCM & #CCMFC
TV Broadcast: Fox Sports 505
Radio Broadcast: 96.3 Coast FM