It has been some 320 days since Central Coast Mariners last won an A-League match, and with 2019 now underway, boss Mike Mulvey is hoping the new year brings new fortunes and new faces.
Sitting a distant bottom of the table with just two points to their name from 11 games, the Mariners were dealt another blow over the summer with Aston Villa recalling on loan Scottish striker Ross McCormack.
He has since been loaned back to his former club Motherwell in the Scottish Premier League, leaving Mulvey’s squad short a striker having played just five games in an injury-interrupted spell in yellow and navy.
Finals already appear out of the question for the struggling Mariners, but the task remains to keep the dressing room and the long-suffering fans believing through what has been another torrid campaign.
Speaking to the media ahead of the trip to New Zealand to face in-form Wellington Phoenix, Mulvey said he is tracking fresh legs in January and admitted he had only recently been in touch with a mystery player.
“We’re looking to try and make some deals in January to help the players get where we want to,” he explained.
“None of us are happy with the situation that we’re in and we’re all working diligently to try and get out of that situation.
“I was speaking to a player just now with regards to if he could come to us in the next few months to help us out towards the end of the season.
“We’re actively trying to bring players in and I can quite honestly say that if we get those players in, it will help the players that are already here.”
Mulvey insisted he still had the backing of the players who are already at the club.
“As far as the team morale, you only have to look as far as the second half (against Sydney) to see the players are playing for each other and for the club,” Mulvey added.
Earlier this week, winger Connor Pain revealed experienced centre-half Kalifa Cisse had issued an apology to teammates over his dismissal against Sydney FC.
The Malian was handed his marching orders in the Mariners’ 5-2 defeat after an undisciplined kicking away of the ball, followed by a rsh tackle scarcely five minutes later.
Cisse then appeared to decline handshakes between himself, Mulvey and assistant Nick Montgomery as he left the pitch towards the Jubilee Stadium tunnel.
The coach stressed the situation was being handled accordingly.
“I don’t think anyone’s happy with the situation right now, I’m certainly not happy with the situation with the send-off,” Mulvey said.
“It’s unacceptable and we’ll deal with that internally.”