Marquee Ross McCormack's exit adds to Central Coast Mariners' woes

MAIN MAN: Ross McCormack fires a shot at goal against Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium in the lead-up to this season's A-League competition. Picture: Adam McLean.
MAIN MAN: Ross McCormack fires a shot at goal against Wollongong Wolves at WIN Stadium in the lead-up to this season's A-League competition. Picture: Adam McLean.

Central Coast Mariners have lost marquee signing Ross McCormack after the A-League striker moved to former club Motherwell.

The Scotland striker returns to Fir Park 11 years after leaving Lanarkshire, with parent club Aston Villa loaning him out until the end of the season.

McCormack, who has enjoyed prolific spells with Leeds and Fulham before joining Villa in an ill-fated $AU25 million two years ago.

The 32-year-old played for Melbourne City last year and his move to the Central Coast was a huge coup for the A-League strugglers.

However, after scoring just once in five appearances, McCormack has decided to move home for family reasons after a knee injury that has sidelined him since November.

"I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners and the fans for welcoming me on the Central Coast with open arms," McCormack said.

"Although I was only there for a short period, everyone made me feel very welcome from day one.

"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.

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

McCormack’s departure capped off a gloomy week for the Mariners, who were trounced 5-2 by Sydney FC on Saturday.

The loss stretched their historic winless run to start a season to an 11th game.

"I think you guys [the media] need to be fair and have a look at the performances and say: 'These guys are still playing'," Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said.

"They're having a go. They're giving as much as they possibly can.

They're having a go. They're giving as much as they possibly can.

MIKE MULVEY

"But there'll be something happening in the next few days."

Asked whether that meant player signings, Mulvey said: "Yes."

Pressed further on whether that meant a replacement for McCormack, Mulvey was diplomatic.

"I can't say anything until ... Aston Villa is the parent club," he said.

"But yes, we will be active."

Mulvey reached for positives in the lopsided result, and also believed his team were victims of some refereeing inconsistencies against the Sky Blues.

"Alex Wilkinson is a beautiful guy, but he went in on a two-footed challenge. If my player had not moved his left out of the way, that's a leg break," Mulvey said.

He also criticised the referee's decision to award Sydney FC a penalty for their second goal.

"I don't know any ex-footballer, or footballer who's still playing, that would give that if they were in that position," Mulvey said.

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