Tony Walmsley has refused to rule out turning his interim job as Central Coast Mariners boss into a permanent role for next season.
Walmsley, the club’s technical director, initially decided to take the reins from the dumped Phil Moss for the remainder of the campaign but reports this week suggest he will be offered his first senior head coaching role.
The retiring Hutchinson would then come on board as his assistant.
Asked about the speculation on Saturday night, a coy Walmsley said: “I’m enjoying it thoroughly at the moment. As technical director it’s allowed me to get a first-hand look at the players and live the first steps of a proactive and entertaining playing style and it’s really enjoyable.
“I’m here for the players and to see the rewards of their efforts and see them feel good. When I came in they weren’t feeling too good about themselves and that’s the thing I’m most pleased with.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction for me for either doing the job or finding the right person to do the job. But they [new coach] have to be aligned in our thinking.
“They have to be prepared to live and breathe what we’re trying to do. So getting the wrong person is the big risk at this stage.”
After their “car-crash” result in going down 6-1 to Brisbane Roar last week, Walmsley demanded a response and got it inside the first two minutes.
Left-back Josh Rose scored his second goal of the season early on and it proved enough for just the club’s fifth win of the season.
“The Brisbane game aside, we’ve had a couple of good performances and got little out of them so I really wanted the work they’ve put in over the last few weeks be rewarded and we got that today,” the Mariners boss said.
“Coming off the pain they felt last week was put to good use in training and I’m really pleased for all of them.
“We’re in the entertainment business and we have to really have a go and as the smallest club in the league we have to play with an expansive, risky, adventurous playing style. There’s a lot more sophistication to be had but there’s some really good signs.”
Walmsley substituted Hutchinson with just 10 minutes left with almost the entire crowd of just under 10,000 rising to their feet to salute the Hyundai A-League’s most-capped player.
“He’s been great since I’ve come in,” Walmsley said of the last Mariners foundation player.
“I think [Hutchinson] doesn’t get enough recognition for his ability as well because he can actually play football. I was pleased for him.”
The Mariners next head to Wellington to take on Phoenix on Friday night.