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21 Apr 2018 8:27
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    Mariners eye A-League recruits in January

    Coach Paul Okon will have the rare benefit of a full squad as the Mariners attempt to rebound from three straight goalless losses against Wellington.


    Central Coast are open for business in January, but only if coach Paul Okon can find an already match-fit addition to his A-League side.

    The financially modest Mariners don't often dabble too much in new signings during the transfer window, but Okon revealed the club were actively searching for at least one player.

    "We are looking at the moment," he said.

    "It's difficult in January to bring players in because there's that risk that they aren't fit or haven't been playing somewhere.

    "So we don't want to bring someone in just for the sake of it but ... we will bring at least a player in."

    Cellar-dwellers Wellington, who visit Gosford on New Year's Eve, have already started their shopping, securing the return of fringe Socceroos striker Nathan Burns on a two-year deal.

    But the 2015 Johnny Warren medallist won't be allowed to play until the window opens, ruling him out of Sunday night's clash.

    Okon has the rare benefit of a full squad, with zero injuries and Wout Brama and Jake McGing both back from suspension.

    The plentiful availability will make for tough selection calls as the seventh-placed Mariners' attempt to rebound from three straight losses.

    "Difficult decisions to make, but we have a busy schedule in January of five games so everyone is going to play their part," Okon said.

    "It's impossible for everyone to play every minute - we've got a game on the sixth, the ninth, two very tough games away in Melbourne Victory and the Jets.

    "It's about preparing and waiting for the opportunity to play."

    The most concerning factor for Okon over the last three matches was the lack of a single goal.

    "We're ticking a lot of boxes and doing a lot of things right," he said.

    "It's just being a little bit more ruthless, brave and taking a bit more risk in that final third."

    STATS THAT MATTER:

    * The Mariners are undefeated in their last five New Year's Eve fixtures, including a 3-1 win against Wellington in 2015

    * Wellington Phoenix have failed to score in their last four away games and face an unwanted record if it reaches five

    * No player has completed as many dribbles as Andrew Hoole (32) this season, 12 more than Phoenix's best Roy Krishna (20)


    NZN




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