Brisbane Roar coach Rado Vidosic says the door is always open for revered former captain Matt McKay to return to the club.
McKay – who led Brisbane to the 2010/11 A-League title – made a surprise appearance at Roar training on Friday ahead of next week’s Socceroos camp.
The 29-year-old is recovering from surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone sustained while turning out for South Korean club Busan I’Park and has returned to his hometown to boost his fitness ahead of the East Asian Cup 2013 qualifiers.
Facing a Sunday clash against Central Coast, Vidosic would dearly love to have old hand McKay back in his squad on a permanent basis, and gave the club legend an open invitation to do just that at any time.
“He was a great captain, he was part of that 36 undefeated games (streak), he’s part of our history,” Vidosic said.
“He’s always welcome to come here even just for a kick, or to come back and play for us.”
McKay’s fleeting return to his old club was welcomed by recruit Ben Halloran, who found some humour in the rugby league-style headgear McKay had to wear to protect his face.
“I thought that was Preston Campbell,” Halloran joked.
“It’s good to have him here. He’s a quality player and he’ll be in the Aussie camp during the week so that’ll be a really nice touch.
“From what I’ve seen he was captain of the club and a celebrated figure of the club. It’s just good to see him here.”
McKay was a key figure in Brisbane’s miraculous grand final win over the Mariners two years ago and was always front and centre in one of the competition’s most captivating rivalries.
The Roar can draw some confidence from the statistic they have never lost at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford, a place where most other clubs fear to visit.
“You get those teams that you really enjoy playing against and Central Coast Mariners are probably the one that we love playing away most than anyone else,” Vidosic said.
“But that’s history, that’s all in the past and it’s a new season.
“They have continued where they left off last year – very hard to crack down, very solid in defence, and with ‘Alessandro’ (Daniel) McBreen they’ve got a great goalscorer now. They are looking very, very good.”