Football 2 years ago

Mariners' recruitment options tight: coach

  • Mariners' recruitment options tight: coach

They're in desperate need of a lift, but Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley has conceded the A-League club's poor financial situation has stopped them actively joining the January transfer window recruitment drive.

Approaching the season's halfway point, Walmsley faces the unenviable task of attempting to heave his down-and-out team from the quagmire of 10 winless matches including five straight losses.

The Mariners, who just three seasons ago scaled the heights of championship glory, are five points adrift at the bottom of the table and facing the possibility of their first-ever wooden spoon.

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Despite being handed a licence to lose by owner Mike Charlesworth in favour of playing entertaining football, strained morale has been an inevitable side effect of such an approach.

Compounding the negative feeling is concern the club owes money to players, with Professional Footballers Australia saying some have not received superannuation payments since early in 2013.

Under new regulations, the payments must be made before the end of December or the Mariners face substantial penalties and the affected players can put the club on notice.

The cashflow problems are a product of Central Coast's shoestring budget that has them spending the minimum 90 per cent of the $2.55 million salary cap.

Walmsley said he's keeping his options open when it comes to signing reinforcements, but clarified that "we haven't been actively looking for January recruits based on constraints".

"We're looking through the window right at this stage," he said.

"Whether we can actually open it and talk to people I'm not sure.

"But we're keeping options open, we're talking to (English Premier League development partners) Everton about possibilities there.

"We've got a raft of candidates from A-League clubs wanting to offload players to overseas players wanting to come in.

"Obviously we've got financial constraints at this stage."

Walmsley thought his youthful side could benefit from the experience of another older head to join veterans such as captain Nick Montgomery and Josh Rose, while he also liked the prospect of "awesome, absolutely gun young players".

Ambitiously, the coach said a marquee signing may not be ruled out if one were to prick Charlesworth's interest enough.

"I wouldn't put a marquee out of the question if the right one came along, if it was the right balance of commercial opportunity versus a big-name player," Walmsley said.

"Whether it becomes an affordable proposition (is another story, but) something that lifts the fans and lifts the community would be absolutely fantastic.

"Something that these young players would remember for the rest of their lives would be fantastic too."

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