Central Coast Mariners captain Nick Montgomery hopes to be an Australian citizen by the end of the month but is unsure whether it will make a difference to his squad.
The English-born Scotsman felt his side was full of confidence after almost beating Melbourne City in the 2-2 draw on New Year’s Eve at home.
With resources at the Mariners unable to match City and upcoming opponent Sydney FC, the Mariners veteran suspects that even if an international position was available, coach Paul Okon may still choose to go local instead.
“I’m pretty hopeful I’ll make the Australia Day ceremony, so if that happens and I get my passport then brilliant, it will open up a visa spot,” Montgomery said.
“It’s good for Paolo and the club but whether there’s finances to bring someone in, that’s a different matter.
“Come the end of January, you got to have money to bring in quality players. If not, I’m sure we’ll stick with the squad we’ve got and these young boys will keep getting a chance to prove themselves every week.”
Montgomery hailed the culture of the Mariners giving young players a chance to play.
Most notably among them is local boy, Trent Buhagiar, from Gosford, who is turning heads after scoring his first goal against Melbourne Victory and then against City the following week.
Montgomery saw positives in having an inexperienced side, touting both Buhagiar, Adam Berry and Liam Rose as future stars.
“You saw what Buhagiar did the other day. Would he get a chance at another A-League club? Absolutely no chance,” he said.
“No chance he would have had enough time to play the amount of game time this season and prove what an asset he is. We can’t lose that at the Mariners.
“It’s something the club's been built on, we have to rely on the young players and people like Trent to step up to the plate so we can find that consistency.
“I saw him two years ago – we played against the youth team – and I remember at the time thinking ‘this boy has definitely got something’. He’s so quick with movement, I see him now and I try to mentor all the young players and lead by example.”
The Mariners skipper also said there was competition for places in the squad since Liam Rose recovered from a calf injury.
“Young Adam Berry as well – the way he gets around the pitch, he reminds me of myself as a young lad and he’s always willing. Then you have Liam Rose fighting to get back into the team now,” he said.
“I set Trent up for his goal against Melbourne Victory which he finished brilliantly.
"I told him ‘Now you’ve scored one, keep scoring, you’ll get the confidence’ and I think his goal against City was top drawer.”