Bosnich lines up for Central Coast
11:41 PM Fri 25th Jul, 2008 - Admin
SIX years after hard drugs and fast women derailed his football career, former Australia great Mark Bosnich has been given the chance to relaunch it this weekend.

Bosnich will play his first top-flight match since 2001 for Central Coast against Sydney FC in an A-League Pre-Season Cup match in Gosford on Sunday.

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna confirmed he would throw the goalkeeper the lifeline he is seeking, saying Bosnich would start the match as he trials for a longer contract with the club.

Now 36, Bosnich is attempting to relaunch a career which shame-spiralled into drug abuse, depression and tawdry tabloid tales of video sex romps and his destructive relationship with English supermodel Sophie Anderton.

Bosnich returned to football by training with English lower division side Queen's Park Rangers for several months, then joining the Mariners with a view to making a career in the A-League.

He said Sunday's hitout – his first top-level match since playing for Chelsea against Everton in late 2001 – would finally give him a reference point as to how his comeback was progressing.

"I'm under no illusions here, I'm here on trial. Forget past reputations – I have to perform," Bosnich said.

"I'm very thankful and happy to have a chance to start on Sunday.

"At least I'll know where I'm at in terms of fitness and my sharpness. It's a great opportunity to see where I'm at with my game."

One of the finest footballers ever produced in Australia, Bosnich was banned for nine months in 2002 for returning a positive drug test to cocaine, was sacked by Chelsea, and has not played seriously since.

He became a tabloid figure of fun in the United Kingdom after piling on the weight during his career hiatus, but finally beat his drug problems and is working on patching up the family relationships damaged by his demons.

Bosnich is now just a few kilograms above the weight he was at the peak of his career, and believes his fitness and sharpness are improving day by day.

Even he is eagerly anticipating a comeback likely to fill the 20,000-capacity Bluetongue Stadium, and is prepared for the taunts of Sydney FC fans should they choose to remind him of his darkest days.

"I'm interested to see how I'll perform myself and I'm feeling the nerves for the first time in a long time, and that's a good thing," Bosnich said.

"People pay their money to get into a ground. They're entitled to shout what they want to shout."

Bosnich is hoping to earn a longer deal with the Mariners, who have a medium-term vacancy with the suspension of No.1 keeper Danny Vukovic until October for hitting a referee.

But Bosnich said any eventual return to the English Premier League, where he enjoyed such success with Aston Villa before ill-fated moves to Manchester United and Chelsea consigned him to reserve-team football, was too early to think about.

"I'm not ruling anything out, or anything in. I'm just concentrating on playing for Central Coast," he said.

"I'm doing it day by day. It's a little bit quick to be looking too far ahead."
Source: AAP
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