The North Sydney Oval surface is not a worry for Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Phil Moss leading into Friday’s Hyundai A-League clash against Melbourne Victory at the venue.For the second successive season the Mariners will take a game to Sydney’s north shore as the Club bids to expand its brand south of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Over the past few weeks Melbourne mentor Kevin Muscat has been vocal in his opposition to playing at North Sydney Oval, but having spoken at length to respected groundsman Peter Devlin, and having viewed the pitch himself on Wednesday, Moss is convinced that Muscat’s concerns will prove to be unfounded come Friday night.
“I’ve got no concerns about the pitch,” Moss said following his side’s final training session before the match. “I also know that FFA [Football Federation Australia] would not have let the game go ahead on a ground that wasn’t in good condition.”
“I know Peter Devlin and his grounds staff at North Sydney Oval well, and they care just as much about player safety as they do how green it is, so I have got no concerns.”
“We’re a Club that prides itself on having no excuses and [until now] the pitch has not even been mentioned in our preparation. Victory have been kicking up a stink for three or four weeks now about it [but] we’re just focussed on our game plan and executing the game plan.”
Former Rangers and Millwall defender Muscat has suggested that he won’t play some members of his squad – including Gui Finkler and Scott Galloway and perhaps Nick Ansell – at North Sydney on Friday night.
Though Moss understands and respects Muscat’s decision to protect his players as he deems fit, the Mariners boss said that his side is keen to test itself against Victory’s best.
“I hope they come full strength because it makes the challenge even greater for us and you want to test yourself against the best,” Moss said. “I am looking forward to matching wits with my mate ‘Musky’ [Muscat] and I know the players are looking forward to playing against one of the top teams in the league.”
“It’s a big match for us and a big challenge, and the greater the challenge, the higher the heights that we tend to reach.”
“Our boys are focussed, and we’ve freshened them up this week after a spell of six games in three weeks.”
“The focus and intensity late this week has been fantastic, so we’re ready to go,” Moss concluded.
Friday’s game will be shown LIVE on both FOX SPORTS 4 & 4HD as well as SBS ONE. The game is Central Coast Mariners’ first on free-to-air TV this Hyundai A-League campaign.
Central Coast Mariners Squad vs. Melbourne Victory: 1. Matt NASH, 2. Storm ROUX, 3. Josh ROSE, 4. Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5. Zac ANDERSON, 7. John HUTCHINSON (C), 8. Nick MONTGOMERY, 9. Mitchell DUKE, 10. Anthony CACERES, 11. Nick FITZGERALD, 12. Liam REDDY (Gk), 15. Matthew SIM, 17. Richard VERNES, 18. Glen TRIFIRO, 21. Michael NEILL, 23. Isaka CERNAK, 25. Eddy BOSNAR, 26. KIM Seung-yong *two to be omitted*
Ins: 2. Storm ROUX (promoted) 8. Nick MONTGOMERY (returns from suspension), 26. KIM Seung-yong (promoted)
Outs: 28. Josh BINGHAM (omitted)
Unavailable: 6. Brent GRIFFITHS (injury – indefinite)
Central Coast Mariners vs. Melbourne Victory – Hyundai A-League 2014/15 Round 9
Friday 5 December 2014
North Sydney Oval, North Sydney
Tickets: Please click here to purchase tickets to the match
Twitter: @CCMariners #CCMvMVC