Signing news: Mariners starlets heed Montgomery's words on brave new journey
Stephen Mallon says the advice of Nick Montgomery helped him embark on a near-17,000 kilometre journey from Sheffield to Gosford to play Hyundai A-League football.
Mallon, 19, arrived on the Central Coast on Wednesday with fellow Sheffield United youth prospect Sam Graham, 18, after signing for the Mariners on loan for the rest of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 campaign.
The Belfast-born winger and Republic of Ireland youth international says Montgomery - a former club captain of both the Mariners and the Blades - played a big role in making the move an attracting proposition.
“Nick [Montgomery] is obviously an ex-Sheffield United player – he spoke to people at the club and showed interest in me,” Mallon told the club's official website.
“The club spoke to me and said there is an opportunity to go to Australia and straight away it jumped out as something that I wanted to do. Being nineteen, especially with more years on my contract, to come down here, enjoy the experience, work as hard as I can and go back a better player – it all appealed to me.
“Monty said it’s a great league, a great experience. He said nothing is guaranteed just because we have travelled from England but he knows we are good players and told us that we need to work hard to earn our chance.
“I’m here to play and work my way into the team and once that happens, I want to stay in the team. Hopefully I can put in some top performances and really kick on until the end of the season
“I have been watching some of the Mariners games this season and I can’t wait to play at this beautiful stadium in front of the home fans,” Mallon said.
Graham, a defender who was recently on loan with English outfit Oldham Athletic, also spoke of Montgomery's words of wisdom.
“When I got the phone call: my first thought was yeah, I want to come out,” Graham told the club's official website.
“It’s a great opportunity for me, I’m only 18 years old so I’m young and not many people get this chance, so I just jumped at the chance to come here.
“I know that I need to train hard and work my way into the team and that’s the plan. This is an important stepping stone early in my career. I want to play as many games as I can.
“I want to thank the Mariners for giving us both the opportunity, we’re both young players, it’s a bit of a risk bringing in youth but we will repay that faith."