Newly named captain Matt Simon says Usain Bolt has made immense strides since arriving at Central Coast but is refusing to shed light on whether the Jamaican superstar will remain at the A-League club.
The Mariners have shut down talk of Bolt signing a contract before their season opener against Brisbane on Sunday as the eight-time Olympic gold medallist continues to trial for a spot.
ESPN exclusively revealed on Tuesday that Valletta FC have tabled a two-year offer to Bolt, who trained with the reserves during the Mariners team session on Wednesday, but Central Coast say they won't be rushed into any knee-jerk response.
Suddenly, after his two-goal performance in a trial against Macarthur South West United at the weekend, the question has shifted from will Bolt earn a contract to will he stay?
"I'm not too sure with what's all happening with Usain. It's probably a question for the CEO," Simon said after the media was banned by chief executive Shaun Mielekamp and coach Mike Mulvey from asking questions about Bolt.
"It's not a distraction at all. He's been here for a couple of months now so everywhere we go with Usain, everyone's talking about him so it's just been down to business.
"We're concentrating on the season and just looking forward to round one and putting into practice what we've been doing at training for the last 12 weeks."
Simon, who has played somewhat of a mentor's role to Bolt, conceded the former world's fastest man -- now classified as the Central Coast's fastest man -- had been a morale booster for Mariners after a couple of lean seasons.
"Look, he's been great to have around the change room," the skipper said.
"He's done well. The improvement that he's had over the course of the eight or nine weeks that he's been here has been immense.
"The boys have enjoyed him being here."
But asked if he could see the 32-year-old forcing his way into the squad at any point during the 2018-19 season, Simon was noncommittal.
"That's a question for the hierarchy of the club. It's above my pay grade unfortunately," Simon said after admitting Bolt's brace against Macarthur South West United was impressive.
"Obviously you can see the difference in the standard of the game [between Saturday's trial and the A-League] but it's no discredit to him. He's gone out and done well and he scored two goals.
"So it's a credit to him to go out and do that and I think everyone hasn't stopped talking about it.
"So good on him and we move on to round one."