Central Coast coach Phil Moss has had to endure several changes already since taking the helm last month, and now he’s lost forward Adam Kwasnik.
The changes continue to ring out at Central Coast with striker Adam Kwasnik ruled out for the season, adding to a month of upheaval for the A-League’s defending champions.
Mariners Phil Moss admits it will take some work to restore the titleholders back to their championship-winning ways after enduring a difficult initiation.
When he took the job as head coach last month, he could never have foreseen the changes that lay ahead.
Since Graham Arnold’s departure, Moss has seen general manager and former owner Peter Turnbull also call it quits and then head of sport science Andrew Clark join Arnold’s new J-League side Vegalta Sendai.
Continuing the apparent chain reaction, star playmaker Michael McGlinchey is the latest Mariner to jump ship after the club confirmed on Monday night he was also reuniting with Arnold in Japan.
And all on a night when the champions succumbed 2-0 to a clinical Western Sydney at Pirtek Stadium to slide to sixth on the ladder.
In a further blow, 158-game veteran Kwasnik opted for season-ending surgery on a knee cartilage problem.
“I am very disappointed, but my focus is getting back with the squad for next pre-season,” Kwasnik said.
The two losses will be somewhat compensated for by the return of young striker Bernie Ibini on a five-month loan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai East Asia.
Moss, who was Arnold’s assistant for three years, says he’s all too aware there’s a lot of work to do to get the Mariners back to their best.
But he is relishing the challenge.
Asked if he saw all this change coming, he said: “No, of course not”.
“The only thing I knew was that Arnie was leaving but it was my opportunity to step up and I’m loving the challenge.
“There’s new challenges every day but we’ve just got to keep forging forward and keep the belief.
“And as we go on I’ll put my stamp on things more and more but certainly the first thing we need to do is improve with the ball.”
Moss admitted McGlinchey would leave a huge hole at the club but was delighted to have regained the services of Ibini, one of the Mariners’ most exciting young players.
“You can’t compensate for losing a player like Mikey,” Moss said.
“But having Bernie back in it was an easy decision with Mikey leaving to have him to come back.”
Having lost his father last month, Shanghai East Asia, agreed for Ibini to return to Australia and have allowed him to rejoin his former club until the end of May.
The 21-year-old admitted he struggled to adjust to life in China and, while saying he still has ambitions to go abroad, he’s just happy to be back home for now.
“It was difficult,” he said.
“It was the lifestyle and football as well. The way they run things was very different, so it was hard.
“So I’m just looking forward to being back here and being in familiar surroundings and being able to play well here.”
While the Mariners are struggling, unbeaten Western Sydney have no such problems, their latest victory pushing the Wanders to within two points of the front-running Brisbane Roar.