Stajcic reveals Mariners are close to striker signing
Brazilian striker Jair is close to signing for Central Coast Mariners, according to head coach Alen Stajcic.
The former Newcastle Jets forward underwent fitness tests in Gosford two weeks ago, it was reported by AAP.
“[It’s] pretty close I’d imagine,” Stajcic admitted, following the 3-1 defeat against Adelaide United at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.
Asked if it will happen next week, he said: “It’s highly likely.”
Jair has been a free agent since being released by the Mariners’ F3 derby rivals at the end of last season, after scoring 2 goals in 20 Hyundai A-League games.
Central Coast have one visa spot open, with Kiwi Michael McGlinchey, Scotsman Ziggy Gordon, Serbian Milan Duric and Kim Eun-sun of Korea Republic already on the books.
The Mariners have relied on the goals from Milan Duric so far in 2019/20, with the playmaker netting three league goals, two of them from the penalty spot.
Daniel de Silva, Samuel Silvera and Jordan Murray are the only other Central Coast players who have struck for Stajcic’s side in the league.
The 24-year-old, Murray, has lead the line in three of the Mariners’ five matches in this campaign, while Matt Simon has made four substitutes appearances.
No recognised striker played in the 2-1 win in Perth or the 3-1 loss at Melbourne City, with Tommy Oar and Silvera taking up advanced positions.
Central Coast's goalscorers in Hyundai A-League 2019/20
Teenage star Silvera’s trickery won Stajcic’s side a penalty in the sixth-minute at Central Coast Stadium on Saturday.
Duric converted to put the Mariners 1-0 up, but the Reds rallied and scored three goals before half-time.
Stajcic admitted that Ben Halloran, Nikola Mileusnic and Kristian Opseth showed the home side how to finish.
“We had good moments in the first half, we had good moments in the second half,” Stajcic said.
“When you compare how clinical both sides are in the penalty box, there’s a bit of a difference.
“When they had their chances, they took them, and took them well.”
The Mariners coach was frustrated with his side’s defending, which he insisted was out of the ordinary.
“We had only conceded two goals in open play up until [Saturday] so it hasn’t really been an issue,” Stajcic added.
“We were best in the league for goals conceded in open play.
“To concede three was pretty poor, just a lack of concentration there cost us.
“We’ve conceded two in four games, so to concede three in one half was very disappointing.”
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