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Okon hints at Mariners line-up change

AAP logoAAP 12/11/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Central Coast coach Paul Okon has hinted at inserting livewire midfielder Trent Buhagiar into his run-on side following Saturday's inept 2-0 loss to Wellington in the A-League.

A flat Mariners outfit struggled to get into their adopted home game in Canberra, firing just two shots on target in a performance Okon labelled their worst of the opening six rounds.

"It was probably the worst performance so far this season, certainly that first half," Okon said.

"If it's one from six, you cop it on the chin and you move forward and you try to make sure it doesn't happen. But tonight wasn't the level we expect and it needs to be better next week."

While there is still plenty of time in the season for the Mariners to build momentum, Okon hinted at finding more than a 20-minute cameo for speed demon Buhagiar.

A replacement for veteran Fabio Ferreira at the 72nd minute mark, the 18-year-old had a handful of decent touches as Central Coast threw caution to the wind late in the game.

"I thought Trent when he came on looked very exciting," Okon said.

"It's a good thing to have two players of that ability and certainly Trent's speed is a real weapon. Moving forward, there's real competition in that position."

His insertion could be the catalyst that Okon searches for to jumpstart a team that looked slow and lethargic against a depleted Phoenix team.

Their next match is the local derby against Newcastle.

"When we did move the ball, when we executed what we work on and what we speak about before the game, I thought we looked dangerous," he said.

"It wasn't that often in the first half. A couple of times in the second half we had maybe one or two chances to sneak a goal, and that probably would've given us a different type of ending to the game, the last ten minutes. But it wasn't to be."

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