This Sunday the Central Coast Mariners host Adelaide United. Ahead of Alen Stajcic’s first home game at the helm, he spoke with media. Kick-off is 5pm at Central Coast Stadium.
There’s no bigger game on the Mariners’ calendar than the #F3Derby and that was Stajcic was tasked with as his first assignment as Caretaker Coach.
With just days to prepare, he got the desired result, our first win in Newcastle since 2012. In what was one of the most dramatic games this Hyundai A-League season the Mariners prevailed with three points after almost 100 minutes of football, five goals and two penalty saves.
An international break and two weeks later, Stajcic’s Mariners are faced with the sixth-placed Adelaide United who will be eager to extend their lead on seventh-placed Newcastle.
After a 2-0 loss in Western Australia to the table-topping Glory, Marco Kurz’s man will be desperate to bounce back at Central Coast Stadium.
Stajcic’s squad will be bolstered with the return of key players, including Matt Simon (return from suspension), Andrew Hoole (return from injury), Michael McGlinchey (return from injury), Aiden O’Neill (return from international duty) and Kye Rowles (return from international duty).
What’s been said, Alen Stajcic
Click here to view Alen's full press conference
Thoughts since the #F3Derby win...
“It’s been good, we’ve had a couple of weeks of training under our belt now,” Stajcic said. “To get a solid block of training in has been nice and helped us prepare for our game against Adelaide.
“That game was one in a million. I’ve never seen anything like it. A penalty in the last second, a retake, both saved by the keeper. It was great for the boys to get that winning feeling and a bit of belief but for us it’s only one win, we’re certainly not getting carried away and I know the boys aren’t either.
“We’ve got Matt Simon, McGlinchey and Hooley back in contention, then we’ve got O’Neill and Rowles back in from international duty. It’s been a positive reinforcement of the group, now we’ve got competition for places which is what we want.
“I’ve been watching Aiden [O’Neill] all year, I’ve been really impressed with him, he’s a real good young kid, a potential Socceroo and I thought he was one of the key players for the Olyroos, so it’s great to get him back this week.
The playing style…
“We had a game plan against Newcastle which was to nullify them for as long as we did. Do we want to play like that every week? Probably not. This team needs to evolve and that win against Newcastle was a good starting point as a team to really have a good defensive block and try and hold Newcastle out. That certainly won’t be what we base our game on moving forward.
Thoughts on Adelaide United…
“They are in a bit of a rut at the moment but the league is so close that it really doesn’t matter. I think they are a really good side and the most consistent over the past two or three years. They are a really exciting team, both in transition and defence. Really fit, key players in Goodwin and Isais. They are a dangerous team so I am not really worried about what they did two or three weeks ago, they are playing for their lives this week to stay in the top six – so for us it will be a tough game but we’re going out to take three points.
What needs to be done to claim back-to-back wins…
“We have a structure there that we need to put in place, we need to be disciplined and concentrate for the whole game. In the Newcastle game we showed that we haven’t been able to do it for 90 minutes yet, so to be able to pull out a performance that has all of those factors.
“That’s a big step that we need to achieve, even though we won that game we still didn’t achieve that goal of finishing out a full match to be able to win matches consistently.
“I’ve said this many times already but the A-League needs strong regional clubs for the league to be successful and healthy and there needs to be stability and harmony throughout the club to attract the right types of players to have a club that can really show promise and excitement.
“The Mariners were a strong club in the A-League for a long time and I think we need to start positioning ourselves as that again to attract the best players and be a really viable option in the A-League,” Stajcic said.
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY,11.Connor PAIN, 18.Matt MILLAR, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW 25.Jordan MURRAY, 28.Sam GRAHAM, 29.Stephen MALLON, 68.Jem KARACAN
***Two to be omitted***
Ins: 7.Andrew HOOLE (return from injury), 8.Michael McGLINCHEY (return from injury), 12.Adam PEARCE (gk) (promoted), 13.Aiden O’NEILL (return from international duty), 15.Kye ROWLES (return from international duty), 19.Matt SIMON (c) (return from suspension)
Outs: 17.Peter KEKERIS (not selected), 24.Joe GAUCI (gk) (not selected), 26.Josh NISBET (not selected), 33.Lewis MILLER (not selected)
Unavailable: 10.Tommy OAR (knee injury)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Daniel MARGUŠ, 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Ryan STRAIN, 6.Vince LIA, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.Isaías SÁNCHEZ (c), 11.Craig GOODWIN, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIĆ, 19.Jordy THOMASSEN, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 31.Mirko BOLAND, 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 1.Daniel MARGUŠ (returns from international duty), 14.George BLACKWOOD (returns from international duty), 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE (promoted), 26.Ben HALLORAN (returns from injury), 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS (promoted)
Outs: 10.Ken ILSØ (suspended), 30.Isaac RICHARDS (not selected), 32.Carlo ARMIENTO (not selected)
Unavailable: 9.Baba DIAWARA (knee), 23.Jordan ELSEY (foot)
Hyundai A-League Round 23
Sunday, 31 March 2019
Match: Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United FC
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Tickets: CLICK HERE
Kick-off: 5:00pm (AEDT)
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA
Hash-tag: Join the match conversation using #CCMvADL & #CCMFC