CENTRAL Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss admitted his side needs to strengthen their roster after they played out a goalless draw with the A-League’s bottom-placed Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
Having had to deal with the season-ending injury to playmaker Marcos Flores this week, along with the departure of fellow midfielder Michael McGlinchey to J-League club Vegalta Sendai, Moss said the Mariners need to delve in to the market to find suitable replacements but stressed he hasn't lost faith in his current squad.
Moss will have to do some wheeling dealing across a range of positions to strengthen the squad who currently have only 18 available players from an allowed maximum squad of 23.
This could include the addition of a designated player from the Asian Football Confederation not from Australia who would be eligible for the Asian Champions League campaign which kicks off next month.
"I wouldn’t rule that out," said Moss when prompted about a potential signing from Asia, which would be a departure from the Mariners normal recruitment policy.
"We have some good contacts in Asia and the price has to be right. We are not a club that goes out and spends big money so it has to be about playing in the A-League for the Mariners and the ACL games around the corner as well."
Former Japanese international Naohiro Takahara, currently with Tokyo Verdy in the J-League’s second tier, was last month linked to the A-League champions.
But while admitting a player of Takahara's quality would add depth to his squad, Moss admitted that filling the vacant playmaker role is his top priority.
“If the right player comes along and I think he will fit into our culture and our dressing room and certainly add value on the pitch then anything in possible," Moss continued.
“Whether Daniel McBreen and (Anthony) Caceres can cover 10 for the rest of the season or we look somewhere else that has yet to be seen but we will look at that this week very seriously. “
Having dealt with the season-ending injury to Argentinian Flores, the former assistant coach lamented the side's luck with injuries also occurring to fringe players.
"We lost Michael Neill yesterday who is a real promising up-and-coming left back and was cover for Joshua Rose and it looks as though he has got to have an operation on some cartilage damage on his knee from the youth team game (a 2-0 loss to Melbourne Heart.)"