Central Coast Mariners defender Antony Golec is set to sign for Wellington Phoenix as the New Zealand side prepares for their first finals tilt in several years.
Currently sixth, the Phoenix are eleven points clear of the Western Sydney Wanderers and look all but certain to make the finals – leading manager Mark Rudan to start planning ahead.
The Phoenix have already moved to sign Team Wellington defender Justin Gulley, who previously spent time with the Nix in 2015, making eight appearances.
Golec was a youth product at Sydney United and came through as a professional with Sydney FC, two clubs where Rudan left a huge impression.
But it’s been a largely nomadic career since, with stints at Adelaide United, Western Sydney and Perth Glory coming before spells in Moldova, Iran and South Korea.
He joined the Mariners under Paul Okon in 2017 and made a total of 31 appearances, 22 of which came last season.
It’s been a difficult campaign for Golec, who has struggled with both form and injury at the Mariners.
However, the 28-year-old has a decade of A-League experience behind him and would appear a shrewd pick-up in case either Andrew Durante or Steven Taylor are struck down by injury.
The decision to allow Golec to depart leaves Central Coast even further exposed at the back, with barely a few recognised central defenders on their books.
Veteran Kalifa Cisse also may also be reduced to a bit-part role for the remainder of the season after a heated exchange with assistant coach Nick Montgomery following his sending off against Sydney FC.
However, the return of Jonathan Aspropotamitis has been a welcome addition, with the young defender regaining fitness after missing much of the past year with an ACL injury picked up whilst on the books of the Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Mariners have already signed Turkish midfielder Jem Karacan and are expected to add more reinforcements to their squad before the end of the week.