Former Mariners star can expect cold welcome

Central Coast could not care less about former Mariners defender Ziggy Gordon’s praise for his old club’s good start to the A-League season, with the Scotsman set to receive a frosty reception on his return to Gosford on Tuesday night.

Despite signing a deal in November to stay with the Mariners for the 2020-21 campaign, Gordon turned his back on the club the following month to join Western Sydney Wanderers.

Gordon’s comments upon his arrival at the Wanderers after leaving the A-League wooden spooners haven’t been forgotten by the Mariners.

“It’s great to be amongst some top players and coaches,” Gordon said on joining the Wanderers.

“I’m a winner and I’ll never apologise for it. I want to be amongst other winners.”

However, Gordon was on Monday much more generous in his assessment of the Mariners, who have started the new season with successive wins.

“I know first-hand how dangerous they are,” he said.

“Over the course of last season the Mariners were very unfortunate in numerous games. (There were) a lot of 1-0 defeats, but (they) played very well.

“It was just the final part of the game that we didn’t do well enough. and obviously in the last two games they’ve managed to rectify that.

“They obviously paid a lot of attention in that department.”

But veteran Mariners striker Matt Simon seemed to have little time for Gordon.

“We’re just concentrating on ourselves,” Simon said.

“It doesn’t matter who’s playing for them, and to be honest, we haven’t given Ziggy a thought since he’s left.”

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Mariners coach Alen Stajcic echoed Simon’s sentiments when asked about Gordon’s return to Central Coast Stadium.

“We’re playing against the Wanderers – I don’t really care who’s playing for them,” Stajcic said.

“They’re one of our rivals. We’re turning up on Tuesday night to beat a whole team not one person.”

The Wanderers are backing up from a 1-1 derby draw against Sydney FC on Saturday night, while the Mariners haven’t played since beating Macarthur FC 2-0 on January 3.

“It’s tough but lucky enough in the A-League we get usually a 12-week or 16-week pre-season, so it’s just another two weeks of almost pre-season again,” Stajcic said in reflecting on the break between Mariners’ matches.

“You almost have to press the reset button and get through that dreary period where you’re just preparing for the next match and it’s some time away, but the boys have shown a good resilience to be able to do that.”

He said the Mariners’ three new imports – Marco Ureña, Michal Janota and Stefan Jankovic – were unlikely to feature on Tuesday night as they worked on their fitness after their spells in quarantine.

“It’s probably going to be tough for them to make the team sheet, but we’re looking to get them up to speed as quick as we can,” he said.

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