It may have only been one win, but in the context of Melbourne Heart FC’s history, there may not have been a more crucial triumph than Saturday’s win over the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
It may have only been one win, but in the context of Melbourne Heart FC-s history, there may not have been a more crucial triumph than Saturday-s win over the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park.
Or at least, that is the sense one gets when talking to reigning Player of the Year and goalkeeper Clint Bolton.
“It-s just a bit of validation that we-re on the right track more than anything,” the former Socceroo custodian said.
“We-ve shown in the last four games that we-re heading in a northerly direction which is a good sign without the results obviously.”
Unbeaten in four matches, Heart-s long march towards the Hyundai A-League finals series starts now, with this week-s match on the Gold Coast poised to act as a litmus test indicating exactly where the club is placed in the league pecking order.
And while a loss wouldn-t prove dire, a win on the other hand would catapult Heart into third spot on the table, highlighting the evenness of the competition this season.
Heart-s rise has coincided with the return of Bolton, who after enduring an injury plagued pre-season, has made a marked impact on the Red and White-s fortunes over the last four matches.
“I guess at the back, what you really need is a bit of leadership and a bit of guidance, a bit of organisation,” he said.
“I like to eliminate opposition chances by organising the defence, not so much me having to make big saves.
“I feel my job is just to organise, make sure I-m on top of the boys in front of me and be vocal.”
Despite his impact, the 36-year-old believes he still has more to offer, stating he is yet to reach peak fitness since returning in week three.
“I had six weeks with my arm in a sling and I wasted away to nothing, then I had to build myself up from nothing again, which was a hard thing to do,” he said.
“And then the groin came along, and that put me back again. Body wise, it was hard, getting back to a point where I felt I could be competitive and put my hand up to do a job.”