Mariners’ window might already be slammed shut
Sitting last on the A-League table, Central Coast Mariners coach Tony Walmsley would love nothing better than to land a big fish in the January transfer window to bolster the club's playing list.
But with suggestions players could leave the club because of unpaid superannuation, Walmsley acknowledged his Christmas wish could go unanswered.
"In all seriousness, speaking to the owner, Mike Charlesworth, there is an intent to bring a marquee (player) in here," Walmsley said.
"Whether cash flow allows that in January, I would say it's unlikely.
"But you know, if it's the right person; the right time; the right price; commercials can support that; then we'd love to do it."
The Mariners could certainly do with an injection of talent. After opening the 2015-16 season with a 3-2 win at home over Perth Glory, they have managed just two draws since to have a meagre five points from 11 games.
Despite the club's financial predicament, Walmsley said it was keeping on eye on who might be available at the right price.
"We do have the fishing net cast globally and one or two fish floating around, so we're going to keep pursuing that and seeing where that takes us," he said.
Until that happens, Walmsley will have to make do with the players he has at his disposal, starting with tonight's clash against Sydney FC, which is coached by former Mariners boss Graham Arnold.
"They play a very structured way - the same way that Arnie played when he was here - so no surprises, it really is about how we turn up," Walmsley said.
"If we can continue with the very stout defensive structure that we showed against Brisbane, and do better in possession then we're a chance against Sydney, there's no doubt about it."
The Sky Blues, sitting fourth on 17 points, will be equally determined to get the three points to stay in touch with ladder leader Western Sydney.
Sydney's issue has been scoring goals.
It has managed just 11 in its 11 games, the least of all the teams in the top six.
Fortunately its defence has been outstanding, letting in just nine goals, the least of any team in the competition.
The good news is that skipper Alex Brosque is expected to return from a hamstring injury for the clash at Allianz Stadium, in what would be a boost to the team's goal-scoring prospects.
Tonight's other match will see Adelaide (ninth) host Wellington (sixth), with the Reds desperate to build on its two wins.
The round will wrap up tomorrow with Melbourne Victory at home to Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar hosting Melbourne City.