'The Class of '19'? Mulvey aims to craft Mariners golden era

He spent time at Manchester United as a trainee and Mike Mulvey is taking inspiration from his former club's famed 'Class of 92' as he seeks to shape Central Coast Mariners' future.

David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were among the otherworldly generation that formed the cornerstone of a highly successful era at Old Trafford.

And Mariners boss Mulvey wants another memorable 'class' to come to fruition in Gosford.

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Speaking ahead of Saturday's home clash against Wellington Phoenix, the Central Coast head coach digressed toward Manchester United's rich football history before highlighting the talent coming through at his club.

"If you look through history and football, the clubs who have great success are close-knit with players who were born close by," Mulvey said.

"You go back to Manchester United with the 'Class of '92', they weren’t all from Manchester but they’d been there since they were 10 or 11, and they came through and had stellar careers.

"That’s the kind of thing we're trying to build for the future at this club.

"It's something that has happened in the past too, so it’s been missing for a number of years."

The possibility of such a side coming to life may be a few years away, but a raft of injuries and suspensions has opened the door for a number of surprise selections in this weekend's squad.

The Mariners have already confirmed 19-year-old Josh Nisbet will be making his starting debut, while 19-year-old Michael Glassock, 20-year-old Charles M'Mombwa and 18-year-old Lewis Miller are all in the frame for minutes against the Phoenix.

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"It's never easy to take that step up to first grade. You need to be patient, you need to be thorough, you need to have a fantastic attitude and you need to have great discipline," Mulvey said.

"Josh has earned his spot. He’s a great young lad, he played earlier in the season when he came off the bench against Newcastle, did very well and got himself a contract on the back of that.

"He’s got a fantastic attitude, he’s got a thirst for it, so we're more than happy to give him an opportunity tomorrow night.

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"Michael Glassock has been training very well, he’s a consummate professional and I’ve got rave reviews from [assistant coach] Ray Junna. Michael is a true believer, he believes in the club, he believes in the area, that’s worth its weight in gold.

"He wouldn’t be on the bench unless we thought he could actually do a job, unless he’d been given the tick of approval from Ray and his coaches to say ‘he’s ready’.

"There’s Charles M'Mombwa as well, I’ve seen Charles do some unbelievable things in the youth team and when he’s trained with the first team. What he has is unpredictability.

"Lewis Miller is there too. Opportunity knocks, let’s see how we go."

This weekend marks the first time Central Coast and Wellington have met since the Mariners lost in dispiriting circumstances in Round 13.

CCM
Jonathan Aspro and Matthew Millar of the Mariners appeal to referee Alex King

Staring down their first win of the season as they held a 2-0 lead at the half, Kye Rowles was shown a red card almost immediately after the restart when he brought down Roy Krishna in the penalty box.

Krishna converted the spot kick and just 20 minutes later the 'Nix were ahead.

However, Mulvey showed little exasperation over the result, instead turning his attention toward the quality at hand across the Tasman.

"Wellington have got a system that works for them, they’ve got two fliers upfront in Krishna and [David] Williams," he said.

"They’ve got a very good young player in [Sarpreet] Singh who plays just behind pulling the strings. They’ve got two wing backs that like to bomb on, they’ve got very strong central midfield players and they’ve got a very experienced back three and a good goalkeeper.

"They are as one, they defend as one, they attack as one. There are lessons to be learned for us... the way they’ve turned their season around from being in the position we’ve been in for the past few years and then mounting a challenge this season.

"We were in for the fight when we played them away, we felt we should’ve come away with something in that game. But this time it’s on our home turf."