Ahead of the Central Coast Mariners Round 8 road trip to New Zealand, Kwabena Appiah spoke to media about squad depth and the importance of preparation.
Against Adelaide United last Thursday, the Mariners were without captain Alan Baro, Storm Roux, Asdrubal and also lost Josh Rose during the warm up.
Despite taking a first half lead and eventually falling 2-1, Appiah insists that the unavailability of certain players won’t be used as an excuse and everyone in the Mariners squad is ready to step in.
The lightning fast attacker praised 19-year-old defender Kye Rowles for stepping in last minute to do a top job at left back.
“We’re a fantastic football side,” Appiah said. “We just haven’t taken all of the results we deserve – we’ve played some great football and I’ve been guilty of not putting away some chances but I know that will all come to fruition as the season goes on.
“As an example the game against Melbourne Victory we probably played better as a collective unit than we did against Sydney FC so the performances have been there, we just need to be turning more of them into results.
“Everyone in this squad is more than capable of stepping in and doing a job if called upon so that’s not really an issue,” Appiah said. “Again, on the weekend we didn’t deserve to lose, at the very least a draw would have been a fair result but like I said the performances are there, we’re sticking to the game plan and if we continue that – the results will come.
“Everyone knows that they can be called into the squad at anytime so everyone needs to be on their toes and be ready to step in. For example, Kye Rowles stepped in on the weekend and did a fantastic job for Josh Rose so that just shows that everyone has the right mindset and that everyone is ready to step up,” Appiah said.
Appiah spent a season at the Wellington Phoenix and says that sentimentality will play no part in his preparation this week. The 25-year-old is confident that sticking to the Mariners game plan will result in three points.
“If we stick to the game plan and we click this weekend we can definitely hope to get the three points in New Zealand,” Appiah said. “We’ve been working on tweaking a couple of things and identified things that we need to improve on so if we get that right we will definitely get three points.
“This week for me it’s just business as usual,” Appiah said. “We played the Phoenix four times last season which included two pre-season games and one pre-season game this season so that mindset of playing your old club has gone so I am looking forward to the game,” Appiah said.
With an injury to Spanish striker Asdrubal, Appiah was called upon to lead the line against Adelaide and caused all sorts of headaches for the Cup Finalists. Although it’s not his position, Appiah enjoyed a return to the unfamiliar ‘number 9’ role.
“My favourite position is the right side,” Appiah said. “But I’m happy to play anywhere in that front third if I’m called upon. As a junior, I always played as a striker right up until I signed my first professional contract at Wanderers where I moved to the right wing.
“It’s a bit different playing striker in the youth league compared to the A-League but on the weekend, it was my first time there as a full time pro so there are some things I need to work on but if I get those right I can contribute and help the team.
“Wout, Tommy & Hooley are fantastic [new players] – It’s just about gelling a bit more with these new players which will come in good time. But to have players with the experience of Tom & Wout in the midfield makes the game easier for everyone else so hopefully we can click this weekend against the Phoenix,” Appiah said.
Saturday, 25 November 2017
Hyundai A-League Round 7
Match: Wellington Phoenix vs. Central Coast Mariners
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick-off: 5:35pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #WELvCCM & #CCMFC