Central Coast Mariners have secured the services of 2013 Hyundai A-League Championship winners Nick Montgomery and Nick Fitzgerald for a further two campaigns.Midfield general Montgomery and nimble winger Fitzgerald have each extended their stay with the men from Gosford’s idyllic bayside arena until the completion of Hyundai A-League season 12.
Montgomery arrived at the Mariners in 2012 from English outfit Sheffield United, while Fitzgerald was a product of the club’s youth system. The latter made his senior debut for the club in 2010, before spending two campaigns at Brisbane Roar. Fitzgerald returned to the yellow and navy at the start of 2013.
Both men said they are delighted to have inked contract extensions with the Mariners, and commit their next two years of professional football to Phil Moss’s side.
“I can’t wait for the next couple of years. I love the community feel here at the Mariners – it just feels like a family,” Fitzgerald said. “It never crossed my mind to go anywhere else – I think I am at the right club to take my football forward.”
Montgomery said: “I had a few offers to go back to the UK and abroad but to be honest for me staying here was about my family. My wife and two young kids are really settled here on the Coast and I really enjoy playing for the Mariners. I am looking forward to the next two years and beyond that we’ll see what happens.”
While already established in the Hyundai A-League, Fitzgerald knows that with the right application, dedication and coaching he can take his game to a whole never level in Australia’s top flight.
“There’s always things you can work on,” he said. “I could be scoring a few more goals for sure, but I am looking forward to working with ‘Mossy’ [Phil Moss] and ‘Sully’ [Wayne O’Sullivan] over the next couple of years. I believe they’ve taken my game to the next level and I think they can push it even further.”
Montgomery said showing loyalty was also big factor in him remaining with the two-time Hyundai A-League Premiers.
“I spent all my career at one club in England, 14 years, and this is my third season here,” he said. “So to go through my whole career playing for two clubs is good and demonstrates the loyalty that I have shown to both clubs. The Mariners is a special club, it is the most successful in the [Hyundai] A-League over the ten years.”
Central Coast Mariners boss Moss described finalising the contract extensions of Montgomery and Fitzgerald as “important pieces of the jigsaw”.
“I think there is a real belief in the direction that the Club is taking and certainly the football team and where I want to take it,” Moss said. “They [Montgomery & Fitzgerald] are important pieces of the jigsaw for me and I think today is a fantastic day for the football club.”
Moss added: “'Monty' [Montgomery] brings a lot of things [to the club] and it’s not just on the field, but off the field. He has great experience having played in the English Premier League, and he’s shown what a great clubman he is from the day he walked into the Mariners. He brings real leadership to the team and that is crucial with the number of young boys we have coming through both our Hyundai A-League and Foxtel National Youth League squads.”
“I have set ‘Fitzy’ [Fitzgerald] a challenge, and that is to become one of the wingers in the Hyundai A-League that scores and creates goals on a regular, consistent basis. He has everything in his game to be able to do that – he’s a great finisher, but he doesn’t score enough goals and I would like to see him lay on the final pass for more goals as well. That’s something that we’ve now got a couple more years to work on him with, but I have no doubt that he can be one of the real top wingers in the [Hyundai] A-League, and that’s why I was so keen to keep him.”
Central Coast Mariners fans can congratulate Montgomery and Fitzgerald on their contract extensions with the club this Saturday when the yellow and navy return to Hyundai A-League action on the banks of the Brisbane Water. Moss’s men host Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC on Saturday 24 January 2015 at Gosford’s Central Coast Stadium, with kick off at 7:30pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek.com.au.