Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Nathan Coe has brushed aside talk about the North Sydney Oval surface saying the focus for the Big V is getting the points at the historic venue on Friday night when they face Central Coast Mariners.
While the club are unhappy at the prospect of playing on what is likely to be hard, fast pitch Coe insisted that will not provide the visitors with any excuses.
“Definitely not, both teams have to play on the same field,” he said when asked about the picturesque former home ground of NSL club Northern Spirit, a venue traditionally used for cricket matches.
“We’ve both got the same ball, we’ve both got the same objectives – to score and win the game.
“I think it’s going to be a tough game. The Mariners are a good side. They’ve been a strong side for as long as I can remember.
“They’d like to do a bit better than they have been doing.”
Although he shipped two goals against Adelaide United in a 3-2 win on Friday, Coe has kept three clean sheets in the last five games for Victory, a significant improvement for what had been a distinctly leaky backline in the previous 12 months.
Much of the credit must go to club stalwart Leigh Broxham, nominally a hard-working midfielder but earning rave reviews – and getting on the scoresheet – as a makeshift centre-back during the continuing absence of Matthieu Delpierre.
However, with young centre-back Nick Ansell back in action and Delpierre nearing a return to fitness, Broxham’s recent heroics may not be enough to keep him in the side permanently.
“I don’t know if anyone’s un-droppable,” Coe said.
“He’s certainly done a fantastic job for us. It makes Musky’s job harder and he’s made my job easier. Broxie’s been fantastic.”
And Coe he isn’t reading too much into the speculation over Central Coast’s future ahead of their clash at North Sydney Oval.
Former Mariners boss Lawrie McKinna, now the mayor of Gosford, quit his ambassadorial role with the club this week in a move widely interpreted as an act of protest against owner Mike Charlesworth’s plans to play more games away from the town.
McKinna’s departure and increased concerns over the future of the club come in a week when the 2012-13 champions, struggling on the field this season, host Victory 70 kilometres away from Central Coast Stadium.
But Coe isn’t expecting his side to gain a psychological advantage from the off-field unrest.
“That’s something for them to work out,” he said.
“I don’t how much is real and how much is just talk of them moving. As far as I’m concerned, they’re a Gosford-based team, that’s their home.
“This is just one of those games where you play a team somewhere else.”
Central Coast Mariners v Melbourne VIctory
Friday 5th December, 7.30pm kick-off
North Sydney Oval