Central Coast boss Tony Walmsley has sent out an early rallying cry to Mariners fans to get behind the team ahead of next weekend’s pivotal clash against league leaders Sydney FC.
The Gosford-based outfit will once again welcome former manager Graham Arnold along with former players Matt Simon and Zac Anderson in Round 4, in a match that shapes as an intriguing litmus test for the Mariners’ new playing style.
Speaking after his side's loss to Melbourne City on Sunday afternoon, Walmsley urged fans to pack out Central Coast Stadium on Saturday afternoon and couldn't resist a dig at some of the rhetoric leading into the weekend's Sydney derby.
“This is what we’re all about. Sydney FC have Graham Arnold and some of the Mariners’ former staff and players coming back to Bluetongue,” said Walmsley.
“I worked under Arnie, Hutch worked under Arnie in a Championship winning team and we’re pitting ourselves against the club with the 'mansion' and we’re inviting them to our three-sided house.
“Arnie plays a very structured game and wins games with moments of quality like they did yesterday and it’s going to be fantastic.
“We’ll have a 12-15 thousand crowd at Gosford – the place is humming.”
Walmsley was left to reflect on another entertaining yet ultimately fruitless contest after Central Coast were beaten 3-1 by City at AAMI Park.
The Mariners failed to capitalise on the fact City had to travel to Perth mid-week for their Westfield FFA Cup semi-final clash against the Glory, with their attacking gameplan often leaving them exposed at the back.
“It’s music to my ears that it was an entertaining game because that’s what we’re all about,” said Walmsley.
“We know that we take certain risks playing that style and there’ll be times that it doesn’t work out.
“We thought that in the backend, in the last 20 minutes that we would be able to be stronger and quicker.
“Unfortunately we needed to keep the ball better in the first-half and move them around a lot more than we did.”
The coach wouldn’t comment on the club’s current standoff with Liam Reddy but said the goalkeeper wouldn’t return to the line-up for the clash against the Sky Blues.
““I’m not in a position to talk about that,” said Walmsley.
“The club has issued a statement, a no-comment statement at the moment, other than to say discussions are ongoing and the media will be advised as soon as we have more to talk about.
“At this stage he’s been stood down for two weeks so he won’t be available for our next game against Sydney FC.”