All White on the night: Midfield dynamo Michael McGlinchey will miss the A-League season opener against the Wanderers through international duty with New Zealand. Photo: Anthony JohnsonCentral Coast have been dealt a blow for Saturday’s grand final rematch against Western Sydney with star midfielder Michael McGlinchey missing the game through international duty.
The Mariners were desperate to keep the New Zealand midfielder for the Bluetongue Stadium showdown and initially believed McGlinchey would play and fly out for the All Whites clash with Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain on October 16. Deep into preparing for November’s World Cup qualifiers, the All Whites have scheduled a week-long training camp in Los Angeles from this Wednesday, starting with a clash against Mexican side Queretaro and then against Major League Soccer’s Chivas USA three days later.
They are the last matches Ricki Herbert’s side will play before its tilt at qualifying for Brazil 2014 takes place over two legs against the fourth-best team from North America’s qualifying group (likely to be Mexico or Panama).
”FIFA rules state that the player has to be in the country 48 hours before the game and the flight we were planning for him to take ended up including a six-hour stopover in Miami, meaning he’d arrive 46 hours before the game,” Arnold said. ”But New Zealand Football wouldn’t accept that and there’s nothing we can do. They had a right to exercise that clause because of those two hours, and they took it. We had no say. If we had played him, we risked losing points or had him suspended. So we’ve now let him go for the whole time.”
Arnold reckons it might also be too difficult to get McGlinchey ready for the club’s round two match against Melbourne Heart on October 19. ”He only gets back the day before that game and I expect he’ll be quite fatigued after the matches and flights,” he said. ”I’d have thought Ricki Herbert would have already known what Mikey can do. It’s pretty disappointing because he’s a starting player and a big part of our team.”
Boom Melbourne Victory recruit Kosta Barbarouses is another Kiwi casualty, with the striker out of this Saturday’s Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium. Though the clash with the Wanderers is a grand final rematch on paper, Arnold said it would be a very different side to the one that clinched the title last season.
”We’re the champion club but this isn’t the champion team and I’ve made that clear to the players,” he said. ”Matty Ryan, Bernie Ibini, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Pedj Bojic and Tom Rogic have gone, plus Daniel McBreen is out on loan and McGlinchey will miss the first two matches.”
The Mariners are juggling replacing McGlinchey with either Nick Fitzgerald – a shining light of the pre-season campaign – or veteran Mile Sterjovski. However, one New Zealander who will feature is Storm Roux, a 20-year-old right back who Arnold believes will be an ideal replacement for Bojic, now at Sydney FC.
”He’s slotted in superbly and there’s a lot to like about him, especially his athleticism,” he said. ”Storm has great engines and can run all day.” Despite the arrival of Liam Reddy, Justin Pasfield will start as the club’s first-choice keeper after serving two seasons as Ryan’s understudy.
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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.