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A-League: Can the Mariners cope with losing Montgomery?

Central Coast Mariners head into the new season without the man who guided them to grand final glory, Nick Montgomery, and he will take some replacing.

Montgomery worked wonders during his time at the club, which culminated in a shock grand final win against Melbourne City in the 2022/23 grand final.

However his talents were being noticed elsewhere and Scottish Premier League side Hibernian swooped in to take him overseas.

It is no surprise that Montgomery took such a position as he looks to get as high up the football managerial ladder as possible.

But what does it mean for Central Coast Mariners and the season ahead?

They are priced at 6.00 to win the A-League grand final again and it looks to be a tall order without Montgomery at the helm.

Next managerial appointment is key

It goes without saying that it is crucial the Mariners get it right when it comes to appointing a successor to Montgomery.

The Mariners will have a talented squad of players still, but they will need someone to bring it all together, just like Montgomery did.

Youth development is also key at the Mariners, and will be a big factor as the club search for their new boss.

Sporting Director Matt Simon has already drawn up a list of potential candidates, so the process of getting a new boss on board is well underway.

The club have also reported there has been plenty of interest from coaches all around the world, who are keen to take the job.

Central Coast will have no problem in finding a new coach, but he must fit in with the DNA of the club and they are in no rush to make an appointment.

Saad named interim boss

For now Abbas Saad, who has been the Men’s Academy NPL First Grade Coach, will take the reins on an interim basis until a long-term successor is found.

Who knows there is the possibility of Saad being in the position when the A-League season gets underway on 20th October.

The Mariners open up against Adelaide United and if they were to get off to a good start, Saad could put his name in the frame.

Mariners lose Cummings as well

It could be argued that the loss of star striker Jason Cummings is as big as the loss of coach Montgomery.

Cummings was huge in the Mariners grand final success last season and he scored 30 goals in 49 appearances for the club.

The Scotland-born, Socceroos international, has since moved to the Indian Super League club Mohun Bagan Super Giant, and he will be a huge loss.

The Mariners have brought in Colombian forward Angel Torres as his replacement and they will be relying on the 23-year-old to get among the goals.

Summary

It is not the end of the world for the Mariners losing Montgomery and they still have the set-up to be very competitive in the A-League this season.

But whether they can overhaul Melbourne City again without Montgomery, and indeed Cummings, is another matter.

Much will depend on the next appointment and if the Mariners can score enough goals without Cummings.

But whatever happens it will still be another exciting A-League season for the Mariners.

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