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Phil Moss: Mariners have to strengthen squad

After losing Marcos Flores to injury and Michael McGlinchey overseas, Moss says he may have to delve into the transfer market to fill the gaps.

Central Coast Mariners coach Phil Moss admitted his side needs to strengthen their roster after they played out a goalless draw with the A-League’s bottom-placed Melbourne Heart on Sunday.

Having had to deal with the season-ending injuryto playmaker Marcos Flores this week along with the departure of fellow midfielder Michael McGlinchey to J-League club Vegalta Sendai Moss, Moss said the Mariners need to delve in to the market to find suitable replacements but also stressed he hasn't lost faith in his current squad.

Moss will have to do some wheeling dealing across a range of positions to strengthen the squad who currently have only 18 available players from an allowed maximum squad of 23.

This could include the addition of a designated player from the Asian Football Confederation not from Australia who would be eligible for the Asian Champions League campaign which kicks off next month.

"I wouldn’t rule that out," said Moss when prompted about a potential signing from Asia, which would be a departure from the Mariners normal recruitment policy.

"We have some good contacts in Asia and the price has to be right. We are not a club that goes out and spends big money so it has to be about playing in the A-League for the Mariners and the ACL games around the corner as well."

Former Japanese international Naohiro Takahara, currently with Tokyo Verdy in the J-League’s second  tier, was last month linked to the A-League champions.

But while admitting a player of Takahara's quality would add depth to his squad, Moss admitted that filling the vacant playmaker role is his top priority.

“If the right player comes along and I think he will fit into our culture and our dressing room and certainly add value on the pitch then anything in possible," Moss continued.

“Whether Daniel McBreen and (Anthony) Caceres can cover ten for the rest of the season or we look somewhere else that has yet to be seen but we will look at that this week very seriously. “

Having dealt with the season-ending injury to Argentinian Flores, the former assistant coach lamented the side's luck with injuries also occurring to fringe players.

"We lost Michael Neill yesterday who is a real promising up-and-coming left back and was cover for Joshua Rose and it looks as though he has got to have an operation on some cartilage damage on his knee from the youth team game (a 2-0 loss to Melbourne Heart.)"

Meanwhile, Melbourne Heart interim coach John van’t Schip praised Harry Kewell for being a standout player in what was a rather uninspiring game in Gosford.

Van’t Schip took charge of the club after John Aloisi's well documented dismissal and the 50 year-old’s first match in charge showed signs of promise for a squad that hasn’t won in 18 consecutive matches and is now winless in 20 games away from home.

35 year-old Kewell, still searching for match fitness and form which warrants a plane ticket to this year’s World Cup in Brazil, was arguably the man of the match in what was an otherwise lacklustre fixture.

The former Liverpool and Leeds star's combination with Maltese international Michael Mifsud proved troublesome for the Mariners and van’t Schip didn't shy away from praising the club's biggest signing.

"Harry Kewell today playing ninety minutes on a very good level I think was an example for the boys," van Schip said.

"He was working hard and (was) dangerous in a few circumstances."

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