Fitzgerald joins Caceres in Mariners exodus

The Central Coast Mariners' revolving exit door continues to spin with winger Nick Fitzgerald the latest to be granted a release, as midfielder Anthony Caceres prepares to ink his surprise deal with Manchester City.

Fitzgerald

Source: Getty Images

Fitzgerald, who has made 11 A-League appearances this season for coach Tony Walmsley’s side, requested the termination of his contract at the start of the New Year after becoming disillusioned with the direction of the club and on Friday officials agreed to cut him loose with 18 months of his deal still to run.

It’s believed the former Brisbane Roar man, who made 70 league appearances in three-and-a-half seasons in his second spell in Gosford, may have agreed terms elsewhere as he hunts a future away from the Central Coast.

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Walmsley was reluctant to stand in Fitzgerald's way, with the rock bottom Mariners showing signs of life in beating Wellington Phoenix on New Year's Eve and then drawing 3-3 draw with champions Melbourne Victory on Friday night.

Fitzgerald did not feature in either game.

While the 23-year-old won his release, the club have been more hard-nosed over the departure of Caceres, also 23, who has been head-hunted by the City Football Group for a fee believed to be somewhat less than his $500,000 buyout clause.

Despite a late hitch in the proposed deal, Caceres’s departure should be ratified today, which will see him become the second Australian after Brisbane Roar's Luke Brattan to be spirited away by the Premier League giants.

Plans for the gifted playmaker remain sketchy, but there appears every likelihood that he will eventually find his way back to the CFG-owned Melbourne City as a replacement for in-demand Socceroos midfielder Aaron Mooy, who appears set to be sold overseas.

It’s even possible Mooy could remain within the CFG fold by moving to New York City.

Four Mariners have left the club this season, with Fitzgerald and Caceres joining goalkeeper Liam Reddy and defender Eddy Bosnar.

Walmsey is in the hunt for urgent attcking recruits after the eight-match ban handed to Irish striker Roy O’Donovan for his head-butt on Wellington’s Manny Muscat.

An English League One forward has already been approached, but the trail appears to have gone cold. 


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Published 9 January 2016 at 6:04am
By David Lewis