In a week when half of Central Coast's squad turned their phones over, coach Tony Walmsley has called on Nick Montgomery to pull the plug on rampant Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha.
19 Nov 2015 - 7:22 AM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2015 - 7:22 AM

The Mariners' captain was a rock in defence in last week's courageous draw with Newcastle, and will again be relied on to put a scandalous week behind them by stifling the in-form defending champions.

"We know Berisha's an absolute handful. And we know Monty's not going to have any shyness about getting stuck into him," Walmsley said.

Walmsley confirmed Montgomery, 34, would again partner Jacob Poscoliero at centre-back, with the pair to be tested severely by a side that had netted seven times in their past two league matches.

However, Walmsley remains determined to stick to his attacking mantra, urging his skipper to also act as a release valve once possession is gained.

If there was any secrecy over any of his previous game plans, there would be no subtlety against the Victory.

"(Montgomery) was almost playing a dual role at some point at centre-back (last week). Other times, he was breaking into midfield and crunching players, which is what his strength is," Walmsley said.

"And his range of passing is great. He can switch the ball out of the back four and get straight to Mitch Austin in one 60-yard pass.

"In transition, if Monty wins the ball back, which he does well, then bangs it out to Mitch, we know we've got some potential weapons there on the counter attack."

Young gun Harry Ascroft will also be rushed straight onto the flanks after recovering from a wrist injury suffered in round three against Melbourne City.

"Whether he can last 90 minutes, we're not sure. We've got cover on the bench for that," Walmsley said.

"But it's great to have his energy and his athleticism back in the squad."