Usain Bolt could be set to make his starting debut for the Mariners
Usain Bolt could be set to make his starting debut for the Mariners

‘A good chance’: Bolt set for first Mariners start

USAIN Bolt is 'a good chance' of starting his first match for the Central Coast Mariners in a friendly on Friday night against Macarthur South West United in Sydney.

"I think from a fitness perspective you could probably start him. Whether we do or not… probably a good chance," Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said on Tuesday.

"But we'll weigh it up as the week goes.

"He came on for 15, 20 minutes last time and he'll play longer this time because his level of fitness has improved.

"It's OK having a level of fitness, you need to then get the football fitness, which is very difficult.

"We're quietly pleased with the way he's improved."

Bolt admitted he was struggling with his fitness after making a 20-minute cameo against Central Coast Select XI in late August.

"I knew that [my fitness] might be an issue, so that's why we said only twenty minutes," he said after the game.

"I was a little bit nervous, but as soon as I got on the field I think the nerves went away.

"I wish I had more touches, but I'm not fit yet. I've just got to put in the work and get up to speed."

Starting a match will be a big test of the progress the eight-time Olympic gold medallist has made in the months since as he chases an A-League contract.