Central Coast Mariners are in talks with Ricki Herbert about the struggling A-League side's coaching hot seat, according to Milan Miric, his sidekick with the Maldives national team.
With the recent sacking of Tony Walmsley, Milan confirms there is interest from both sides in bringing the former Wellington Phoenix boss to the Gosford side.
“Through his agent, they have got in touch for the current role for the Mariners,” Milan said.
“[Ricki’s] looking for the opportunity to get back in the A-League if possible. He knows the environment well and he’s coached Wellington there for six seasons so he’s operated on a minimal budget as well as playing three finals series.”
In his brief stint with the Maldives team, Milan says Ricki had a massive impact in revitalising the national team.
“We’ve been there for almost a year and once we got there the team was really old,” he said.
“So he brought through eight young players and out of those eight that played World Cup Qualifiers, six were in the first XI.
“Now they are mature senior players after one year because they played the whole qualifying campaign.
“He got the job in the Maldives to help stabilise the team, which he has since done.”
The side has seen an exodus of talent too amid rumours of dressing room disharmony under Walmsley, and in the coach's last game, the Mariners were booted out of the FFA Cup by NPL side Green Gully.
“Ricki can bring stability to the Mariners and he’s keen to work with young players,” Milan said.
“If you look back to New Zealand, he took 14 players to the senior grade and out of 14, seven played in the in the World Cup. He’s good in developing players.
“In Wellington, he brought through Kosta Barbarouses and Marco Rojas, who has since moved to Stuttgart.”
Milan also believes that Herbert can bring faith back to the players and the club that the Mariners supporters were lacking last season.
“He’s the kind of guy that loves to engage with the community,” he said.
"If you look back to Wellington when he was the coach there, there was at times 20,00 supporters in the Westpac Stadium.
“He can bring results and bring back pride for the local supporters.”