Mariners coach Tony Walmsley says he’s aiming to hand a first A-League start to marquee Luis Garcia next weekend after his side were comprehensively beaten by Brisbane on Saturday.
The Roar scored two goals in each half at Suncorp Stadium to reclaim top spot on the A-League ladder and consign Central Coast to their 12th loss of the season.
Garcia was introduced at the start of the second half for the second week in a row and showed glimpses of the form that wowed fans in Christchurch.
The former Spain international teed up fellow substitute Brad MacDonald, who should’ve scored when the deficit was only two goals, but ultimately couldn’t inspire a comeback.
“The plan is to play him at home in the next game,” Walmsley told ABC radio post-match.
“He’s got another good week of training ahead of him. He gets in the pockets well, he plays very well with other players.
“If we can get the right mix and the right blend around him then we’ll definitely look to start him against Adelaide.”
The Mariners will be without Harry Ascroft for the home clash after he picked up another red card in his return from suspension off the bench.
The defender was judged to have denied Jamie Maclaren a goal scoring opportunity as the last man at the back, with Walmsley feeling the decision was harsh.
“It’s disappointing because he obviously got a nick on the ball,” said Walmsley.
“It’s easy for us to see it on the big screen, but I don’t think it was a pen.
“What’s disappointing is that we’ve got a great young player whose doing really well, he comes back from suspension and he cops a red card for something he probably shouldn’t have.”
Having already had wide man Mitch Austin ruled out before kick-off with back spasms the Central Coast boss will also be sweating on the fitness of Fabio Ferreria after he limped out of the contest late on.
The Portuguese flyer picked up a knock in the first half which limited his output but he showed some promising link up play with Garcia during the short time they were both on the pitch.
“He was our only outlet all game so we’re not going to risk him at three and four nil down, to be the only outlet to get us a goal back,” said Walmsley.
“Obviously he links up well with Luis Garcia but the game was gone at the stage. There wasn’t enough belief or movement within the team to really feel that we could pin it back.
“If we score just before their third, maybe you leave him out there and you think you’ve got a sniff but they were too good for us today.”