Central Coast Mariners boss Phil Moss says that his side has gained confidence from their last start draw against Wellington Phoenix in the land of the long white cloud.
Up against the in-form ‘Nix, the Mariners were made the fight to record their 1-1 draw at Eden Park on New Zealand’s north island last Saturday.
Indeed, Ernie Merrick’s men put Moss’s charges under considerable pressure throughout the contest.
But the yellow and navy showed a wealth of character to grind out a result against a Wellington outfit that in the rounds prior had put both Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets to the sword.
In fact, the Mariners’ showing across the Tasman came following unfortunate and untimely delays at Sydney International Airport the day before the game.
The disruptions meant that the team missed its regular pre-match session across the ditch.
“I think we’ve gained a lot of confidence out of last week’s result,” Moss said prior to his side’s departure to Western Australia on Thursday. “We were right up against it [against Wellington] in the first half because we couldn’t train the day before the game, so the legs were a bit heavy and the minds weren’t switched on.”
“But we grinded that out and found a way to get into the game, so that gives us a lot of confidence and belief going to Perth.”
While Thursday’s session – the team’s penultimate before Saturday’s nib Stadium showdown with Glory – was an intense affair, Moss outlined that he had taken the chance to freshen some of his players up this week due to the incidents surrounding his side’s Auckland adventure.
The Mariners mentor believes that, in addition to the decision to venture west two days before the Hyundai A-League 2014/15 round 11 kick-off, should put his team in a good position to perform strongly against the purple-whites.
“In Auckland we had a nightmare weekend of travel with a total of 12-and-a-half hours in delays, so we gave those boys yesterday off to freshen them up a little bit more,” he said. “It’s done the trick because they came in today very fresh. The intensity was great, the quality was fantastic, and the minds are clear and ready for a big trip to Perth.”
Glory lost the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup Final to Adelaide United on Tuesday night.
Moss knows that there will be a reaction from Kenny Lowe’s team, but isn’t sure which way they’ll swing for their first match following their Cup Final defeat.
“It can work one of two ways,” Moss said regarding defeat in a match of the magnitude as the Westfield FFA Cup Final. “It can put them in a bit of a low space mentally, but it can also drive them and I guess motivate them even more to maintain top of the table because they’ve missed out on a big prize.”
“There are also other things that are swirling around their Club at the moment which can have a destabilising effect on the dressing room, but that’s none of our business. We just have to go over there, execute the game plan and get the job done.”
“They’re top of the table and they were in the [Westfield] FFA Cup Final for a reason. They’re a good side, they’ve got danger players, they’ve got experience at the back, a fantastic goalkeeper in ‘Vuka’ [former Mariner Danny Vukovic], and we know they are going to be tough to get a result against.”
“But we’re going there with a nothing to lose attitude. We’re desperate for a win. It’s been far too long between drinks for us,” he said.
Saturday 20 December 2014
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 6:30pm (local); 9:30pm (AEDT)
TV: Watch LIVE on FOX SPORTS 4 & 4HD
Twitter: @CCMariners #PERvCCM