Nick Montgomery says Oliver Bozanic has to earn his way back into the Central Coast Mariners A-League squad after missing their last five games.
Central Coast boss Nick Montgomery says he is in no rush to recall club captain Oliver Bozanic after the Mariners slumped to the worst A-League defeat of his coaching tenure.
Oliver Bozanic Absence
- Central Coast's captain Oliver Bozanic has missed the last five games.
- The Mariner's player last played on March 15.
- Mariners are currently eight in the A-League ladder.
More A-League news can be found on FTBL.
Montgomery declared that no player has a "divine right" to play in his side after they were thumped 5-0 at home by Sydney FC on Saturday, with Bozanic again not included in what was a vital game for the Gosford-based club.
A win would have given Montgomery's outfit a huge boost in their bid for a place in the A-League Men finals.
While the Mariners were undefeated in seven prior to the game, the fact the 33-year-old Bozanic didn't make the bench has led to growing conjecture around the midfielder's future.
The seven-cap Australian international hasn't been sighted in Mariners colours since a 0-0 draw with Perth on March 15 and last week it was reported he was out with illness.
But Montgomery claimed after the Sydney defeat that Bozanic's five-game exclusion was due to performances.
"It was on form when he lost his place in the team," Montgomery said.
"I don't look at any other player as more important than anybody else.
"I've never done that and no player has got a divine right to play in any team in the world.
"(For) seven games, we've been on a great run."
Sydney moved into the top six on the back of Adam Le Fondre's hat-trick, while the eighth-placed Mariners now cling to hope that they can claw their way back into the mix with a couple of games in hand.
Montgomery said that despite the heavy loss he had confidence the game was nothing more than a bad day out.
"We win with humility, we lose with humility," Montgomery said.
"I don't think there's any pressure on us like I said, everyone wrote us off at the start of the season so we don't really feel pressure.
"We've just had a blip tonight, most clubs have had a little blip in the last couple of weeks.
"It's nice to know we've got a couple of games in hand but unless we win them, it doesn't matter, doesn't mean anything.
"Where we are at the end of the season is probably where we deserve to be so we'll take that on the chin and move on."
The full A-League Men's schedule can be found using this link.