Usain Bolt may start for Central Coast Mariners in upcoming trial match


Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey said he’s considering starting Usain Bolt in a trial against a Macarthur South West United team on Friday.

Mulvey said on Tuesday that Bolt was rested from training duties last week as he recovered from a minor knee injury.

However, the eight-time Olympic gold medallist is back at peak fitness and is set to be given more than the 20 minutes in his first public appearance in late August.

“From a fitness perspective, you could probably start him. Whether we do or not, [there’s] probably a good chance,” Mulvey told reporters on Tuesday. “But we’ll weigh it up as the week goes.

“Last week, we rested him a little bit because he had a bit of a knee injury, but that’s all gone. The rest helped him with that.”

After allowing Bolt to take a week off last month, the club upped his program to include one-on-one sessions with former Mariners captain Nick Montgomery.

But while pleased with Bolt’s improvement in his physical condition, Mulvey conceded Bolt lacked match fitness.

He compared his progress to that of defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis, who is on the comeback from a knee reconstruction.

Aspropotamitis only began non-contact training with the main group this week and has struggled to keep pace with his teammates.

“Nothing [Jonathan] did before really readied for him for when there’s pressure on and people running past him,” Mulvey said. “Usain’s in the same situation because he needs to learn all that and be able to do repeat efforts, because in football nowadays, you’ve got to be able to do something which is OK good, but then you need to repeat.

“Particularly to play in wide areas, we’re looking at our players overlapping or wingers coming inside. He needs to be able to repeat. That’s where we’re at with the journey as far as he’s concerned. He’ll play on Friday night and I think we’ll see how long he lasts and go from there.”

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