Central Coast Mariners forward Connor Pain said “a few home truths” were shared this week in the build-up to an F3 Derby the club are simply desperate to win.
The win-less Mariners sit bottom of the Hyundai A-League table after eight matches but host rivals Newcastle Jets on Sunday - a game Pain believes has come at the ideal time.
And after head coach Mike Mulvey claimed that some members of his squad were “a little bit gripped by fear” following last week’s loss to Wellington, Pain said they were necessary words.
“Obviously his words are not without truth because something is not going right,” Pain told www.a-league.com.au.
“We had a chat and a few home truths this week… hopefully we can have a lot of players believing in themselves because we are not far away.
“I think it was words that were needed from the boss to maybe wake a few people up and say ‘hang on a second, we’ve really got to start fighting for this because we are the only people that are going to be able to get us out of this situation’.”
Speaking on the visit of the Jets, Pain added that games against the Jets are “really quite fiery and really passionate”.
“I think that’s we need to show the fans - that we’re really banding together and showing the passion that the fans deserve to be seeing from the boys,” he said.
“It has sort of been said between the boys - ‘if you can’t get up for this one, which one can you get up for?’.
“Obviously it’s a big game with a lot of meaning for people in both the Central Coast and Newcastle.
“I’m sure they will be travelling down in their numbers to come here and make some noise. We’re hoping to do the same and keep them quiet.”
The Mariners conceded 13 goals in two Hyundai A-League home fixtures against the Jets last season, losing in 8-2 and 5-1 defeats.
But the squad is much-changed since and Pain said experienced Central Coast players Matt Simon and Michael McGlinchey would likely speak to the playing group about the match’s importance before kick-off.
“We’ve brought people back that know the meaning of this fixture - you’ve got Matty Simon and Michael McGlinchey that have been here before,” he said.
“They know all about this fixture and what it means to the people up here.
“So we’re going to be looking to them for inspiration, obviously, especially the new boys.
“Closer to kickoff, I imagine there will be a few words from either one of them or both of them, just to reiterate how important it is and [how] it’s more than just the playing group and the staff, it’s the whole sort of community bragging rights up here.”
Pain, who has played 57 Hyundai A-League matches for Central Coast, also urged Mariners fans to support the team in their time of need.
“We need them to come down and support the boys when we need it most,” he added.
“It’d be great to see a big turnout for a great fixture and a good game between two pretty fierce rivals.”