Montgomery refusing to ‘moan’ about Mariners’ Covid situation

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The hits keep coming for Central Coast Mariners as squad depletion maintains its presence.

High spirits entered Central Coast’s first A-League Men’s match in over a month. A 3-1 loss to Melbourne City on Sunday evening in Gosford soon spoilt those highs considering the Mariners’ overall form so far this season.

With players ruled out from Sunday evening’s fixture it was a different looking side to previous fixtures, highlighting the Mariners untimely interruptions.

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“We didn’t say anything yesterday but we had five boys drop with Covid after the Sydney semi-final game. We’re not talking players who aren’t in the squad,” said coach Nick Montgomery.

“For us we’ve only got a small squad with 18 players but we’ve got to carry on.”

As always, Montgomery provided more chances to his academy youngsters with two more making their debuts.

Although thrown into an already depleted side Montgomery is still proud of the boys despite the loss and he knows it’s only up from here.

“We got two boys who made their debuts tonight in James Bayliss and Cameron Windust. For them boys it’s a great experience for them and they’re going to grow from that,” he said.

“I thought those boys did really well when they came on.”

Entering the match, Central Coast had won 54 per cent of their contested duels so far this season.

City silenced their dominance on Sunday evening with the Mariners leaking three goals from some below-average defence.

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Montgomery acknowledged City’s ability to smother Central Coast, though noted absences and inexperience did take their toll on his side.

“They’re (City) are a powerful team. Obviously you will be disjointed when you’ve got to make changes like we did tonight,” he said.

“At times tonight they were dominate in challenges but when you’ve got to make so many changes it’s going to be hard to get the fluidity.”

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Central Coast’s forward line is expected to grow with reports of Scottish Premiership striker Jason Cummings transferring from Dundee FC in the coming weeks.

With uncertainty surrounding the return of cult hero Matt Simon and the success of this season’s overseas imports, it’s only fitting Mariners continue to expand their arsenal.

Montgomery is eager to get Cummings into camp early to further bolster the front-line.

“He’s (Cummings) a quality player and I’ve spoken to him and tracked him for a while. He’s got an Australian passport and there’s a lot of clubs wanting his signature,” the Mariners coach said.

“He’ll be here next week and with Matt Simon out we’re not going to rush him back and we’ve seen the effort Moresche and Marcos put in tonight.

“Everybody’s is going to need a strong squad so I’m delighted he’ll be coming to join our squad next week.”

Central Coast’s focus will turn to facing Sydney FC for the second time in as many weeks with Montgomery and the club faithful hoping squad depletion won’t cause more headaches.

Feature Image Credit: Robbie Szafranek

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Mitchell Roese
Mitchell Roese
Sports enthuse currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney. Covering the Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 A-League Season

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