Mariners boss Tony Walmsley says a new-look and more attack-minded Mariners outfit will help reconnect with fans on the Central Coast, starting in Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League against Perth Glory on October 10.
Since taking over the coaching reins mid-way through last season Walmsley says he’s been given a mandate to produce entertaining football - and that the players he’s brought in will do exactly that.
With the kick-off to the season just over a week away, the club’s former Technical Director says both he and his squad are ready to reap the benefits of a grueling pre-season.
“We let a lot of players go at the back-end of last season and recruited a few replacements,” Walmsley told a-league.com.au at the Mariners’ Centre of Excellence on Friday.
“So as much as it’s been a long pre-season, we’ve needed it to get through all of that team coming together stuff, but also to introduce a new playing philosophy and it’s been great.
“Entertaining football for us is about really embracing everything that’s possible in the game, from pressing high in the heat to really having a forward thinking ball in the front third.”
It was in attack Central Coast really struggled last season, averaging less than a goal a match and winning just five home matches.
The coach has pledged his new-look frontline will be out to rectify that as the Mariners seek to make Central Coast Stadium a fortress for travelling sides once more.
“We’ll have Fabio Ferreira on one side, who’s still new to the club and got through his first pre-season. Mitch Austin down the other wing, getting service into Roy O’Donovan or Dan Heffernan, who’s a bolter at 28 years of age,” said Walmsley.
“We’ve got goals in us and at the very least we’ve got a threat to any opponent in the A-League every time we go forward.
“I think the litmus test will be that fans that watched us play in the FFA Cup against Wellington, where there were some encouraging signs, if they come to the stadium again and watch Round 1 I think the proof of what we’ve been doing will be there to be seen.
“It’s a different team now that it was seven weeks ago.”
The Mariners will host their annual Family Day on Saturday, with the day set to feature an 11v11 inter-club match.
Walmsley said he would use the hit-out to fine tune his starting side for the clash against Glory but that the day was also about reconnecting with their Gosford fan base.
“The club made mistakes off the field last year that we’re still recovering from commercially and from a fan engagement point of view we need to improve,” he said.
“The bit we can play is to produce an entertaining team that people love to come and watch.
“We’ve done bucket loads of community work in the lead up to this season and we’re hopeful that Round 1 we put on a display that brings people back for the Sydney FC game in Round 4.”
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