Having seen up close the full impact Ross McCormack can have in the Hyundai A-League, Melbourne City boss Warren Joyce knows the challenge awaiting his side on Saturday.
McCormack played 17 games for City last season as an injury replacement for Bruno Fornaroli, ending the campaign as the club’s leading scorer with 14 goals.
But the Scotsman is now leading the line Central Coast Mariners and looms as the biggest threat to ending City’s perfect start to 2018/19.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him. I just hope he doesn't score,” Joyce said of McCormack.
“He did a great job for us last year. He was good within the group, a good man, a popular man within the football club, popular with the fans and in the dressing room.
"He's willing to come out of the comfort zone of England to progress his career so every credit to him."
Joyce revealed he actually tried to re-sign McCormack for this season but circumstances meant the deal couldn’t happen.
While McCormack went one way, City brought in youngster Lachlan Wales from the Mariners.
The 21-year-old is considered one of the brightest young talents in the Hyundai A-League and started last week’s thrilling 2-1 Derby win over Melbourne Victory.
“He’s done great since he came to the club from the first day of pre-season,” said Joyce of Wales.
“He wants to be a footballer, he wants to walk hard, he wants to get better and improve on all areas of his game.”
“He’s an intelligent kid as well.”
Joyce confirmed skipper Scott Jamieson) hamstring and midfielder Dario Vidosic (illness) had recovered and would travel to Gosford after missing the opening round.
City have a strong record on the Central Cost unbeaten in their last four trips to face the Mariners.