Mulvey and the Mariners: a chance at FFA Cup history

The first all-Hyundai A-League encounter of this year's FFA Cup Round of 32 on Wednesday is shaping up as a massive test for the Central Coast Mariners.

Former Brisbane Roar man Mike Mulvey has stepped into the fray as head coach for the next two seasons and has been tasked with guiding the Gosford club to its first Hyundai A-League finals berth since the 2013/14 season.

It will require a huge effort from a Mariners side currently in a transitional period, and one which has finished bottom in two of the last three seasons.

But in Wednesday's clash against Adelaide United, Central Coast fans will get their first glimpse at Mulvey's revolution - and what is needed for the Mariners to return to the precipice of the Hyundai A-League.

For this reason, the FFA Cup could prove to be a massive opportunity for Mulvey's side to gather momentum and belief before the new Hyundai A-League campaign.

There are 10 players who could potentially play their first game for the Mariners under Mulvey in Wednesday night’s FFA Cup clash with Adelaide United.

Returning to the club are the likes of Matt Simon and Kiwi international Michael McGlinchey, who will both don the navy and yellow again after periods with Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix respectively.

New faces also include former Western Sydney Wanderers men Jack Clisby and Jonathan Aspropotamitis, and Malian import Kalifa Cisse, whom Mulvey appears to have locked in for a key defensive role.

Matt Simon
Matt Simon is back in Mariners yellow this year and keen to make an impact.

Keeping in mind that the Mariners have lost 12 players since the end of last season, just how cohesive Mulvey’s side is at this early stage of the pre-season will certainly be interesting.

A good run in the FFA Cup would allow Mulvey to continue moulding his charges in a hugely competitive environment and certainly help to keep minds on the job with a long wait until the Hyundai A-League season gets underway.

The Mariners have struggled at times in the Australia's premier cup competition – they lost to NPL NSW side Blacktown City last season in the Round of 32 and NPL Victoria team Green Gully the year before.

They haven’t progressed past the opening stages of the FFA Cup since the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2014.

In that season they made the semi-finals only to bow out to their opponents this Wednesday: Adelaide United.

2014 was the only season that Mulvey has coached a team in the FFA Cup with his Brisbane Roar side knocked out in the Round of 16 by, you guessed it, Adelaide United.

That's not the only stat the new Mariners' boss will be keen to overturn. In his debut matches at the helm with both Gold Coast United and Brisbane Roar, he came out with 1-0 loss each time.