Ahead of Friday night’s pre-season trial against Central Coast Select, Mike Mulvey addressed media and hinted that Usain Bolt is likely to make his Mariners’ debut. Kick-off at Central Coast Stadium on Friday night is 7:30pm.
After touching down on August 18 for his indefinite training period with the Central Coast Mariners Usain Bolt has upped the ante in a bid to feature against the Central Coast Select on Friday night.
Tuesday’s training session at Central Coast Stadium took place in front of a media detail who were on hand to see Bolt take part in a range of passing and shooting drills before playing a half-field game.
Mulvey was happy with the tempo of the training session and the progress of Bolt.
“We had a good session today, we were working on some things in the front third, I thought we got Matty Simon into some pretty good positions, and some of our crossing was good,” Mulvey said.
“Usain has had a few individual sessions; when you do track and field it’s virtually a straight line and a track coach will never ask you to decelerate or accelerate the way that we do, it’s multidirectional movement in football, so he has to get used to that. I’m quite pleased with the way he’s progressing, and he’ll be sore every night, because the sessions are quite gruelling, but he’s determined,” Mulvey said.
Although, when quizzed about where and how the Jamaican speedster would be utilised, the Head Coach remained tight-lipped.
“For this Friday, it comes down to what the fitness coaches tell me with regards to how his body’s coping with the loading we’ve got at the moment. But I would imagine he’s going to be playing some part on Friday.
“Well you’ll see that [where he will play] on Friday, he can play in a number of positions, we’ll see what best suits the team on Friday,” Mulvey said.
When it comes to Bolt’s progress, Mulvey re-iterated that patience is key and reminded media in attendance that the step from NPL to A-League can sometimes prove too steep.
“He has always played football as an athlete, so he’s got the rudimentary skills, there’s no problem about that,” Mulvey said. Now it’s about being able to do it at the speed we do it.
“And you remember, in the preseason, I brought in three dozen players from the NPL, now that’s stepping up from the NPL to the A-League, some of those players really struggled with the tempo and the level of the game, and it takes time to adjust, anyone will tell you that,” Mulvey said.
Bolt a distraction? Hardly. Mulvey credited his playing squad for lifting their levels at training and staying focussed on the job at hand.
“When Usain Bolt walks through the door you don’t lower your standards,” Mulvey said. “So, I’ve seen an uplift in the quality and you know, they bring him in as one of their own. It’s a really good team spirit, there’s a lot of laughing and joking, but also once we cross over the line it’s very very serious,” Mulvey said.
The Central Coast Mariners are set to take on the Coast’s best players which Mulvey says is a great opportunity to show the strength of the local competition in front of a big crowd.
“We’re really looking forward to playing these guys, they’re part of our community and it should be a good tussle,” Mulvey said.
“I’ve been involved in football for quite a number of years, and unless you’re in the UK or some parts of Europe you don’t see big crowds for a preseason game. What the lads in the office are telling me, there could be 10,000 - 12,000 people here, that’s quite unbelievable for a preseason game, but I welcome it because it puts us under a little bit of a spotlight.
“We’ve got a lot of young players and they need to be able to perform when the spotlight is on them, so this will be a test for them,” Mulvey said.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Central Coast Select
Friday 31 August 2018
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Broadcast: From 7:00pm (EST) LIVE on Fox Sports 505
Kick Off: 7:30pm (gates open 6:30pm)
Hash-tags: #CCMvCCS & #CCMFC