With the Central Coast Mariners having put their financial worries behind them, Oliver Bozanic has pledged his immediate future to the cause
|By SHAM MAJID
Oliver Bozanic has penned a one-year contract extension with the Central Coast Mariners, committing himself to Graham Arnold's side until the conclusion of the 2013-14 A-League season.
The attacking midfielder, born in Sydney but bred on the Central Coast, has been at the Mariners for the past three seasons after returning back to Australia in 2010, having been unable to break into English Premier League outfit Reading's first-team.
His decision to return home for regular first-team football has been vindicated, with the former Australia Under-23 captain having played 77 times in all competitions for the Mariners.
Bozanic said he was delighted to have been offered the chance to continue with the Mariners, who have put their financial problems behind them.
"I am happy to be involved with the club for another season," he said.
"It's my local town and I love the Central Coast and I love being part of this team."
Bozanic acknowledged that injuries this season have curtailed his involvement with the Mariners.
After shaking off a knee complaint, the dynamic midfielder suffered a head injury away to Newcastle Jets in Week 10, resulting in a bout of concussion.
That injury was followed by a dislocated shoulder sustained during his side's clash with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
"I've had a couple of injuries during the season," he said.
"It doesn't help your season but every time I’ve come in I’ve been happy to play every minute.
"It was great to have a start on the weekend and get a great result, so I am just looking forward to the rest of the season now. We’ve got the finals coming up and the ACL [AFC Champions League]."
Central Coast coach Arnold revealed that Bozanic was the subject of enquiries from other A-League rivals.
"There's no doubt there has been interest in Oliver Bozanic from other clubs," Arnold said.
"Naturally, we are delighted that he has committed to the Mariners for another season.
"We certainly know what he is capable of, and at 24 we are convinced Oli's best form is yet to come. He's a player with big ambitions and goals for himself."
The Mariners, sitting in second spot in the league standings, will host Melbourne Heart at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.