Ross McCormack's Central Coast Mariners departure confirmed

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The striker has returned to the UK permanently

Ross McCormack has officially left the Central Coast Mariners in another blow for the struggling A-League club.

Fresh from being thumped 5-2 by Sydney FC on Friday night , the Mariners released a statement on Saturday announcing the on-loan Scottish striker's recall to parent club Aston Villa.

McCormack  was sent back Villa for specialist treatment on a knee injury earlier in December, but was expected to be back for the Mariners' clash against Perth Glory on New Years Eve.

However  the 26-year-old was spotted watching former club Motherwell play after when he was supposed to return to Australia  - in a clear sign he wasn't coming back Down Under.

​"I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners and the fans for welcoming me on the Central Coast with open arms. Although I was only there for a short period, everyone made me feel very welcome from day one." McCormack said.

"The opportunity for me to return to the UK is something that I couldn't turn down and will allow me to see my children more, which is something that is very important to me.

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"I wish the playing group and coaching staff all the best for the rest of the season."

McCormack scored one goal in five appearances for the Gosford-based club - a long way short of the 14 he struck for Melbourne City last season.

The Mariners have had the worst start in A-League history and remain rooted to the bottom of the table with no wins and only two points from their 11 matches.

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