Bolton will make right call: Heart coach
Melbourne Heart coach John van `t Schip believes veteran goalkeeper Clint Bolton's decision whether to play on next season must come down to future happiness rather than current form.
Bolton has been exceptional for the Heart in the A-League, starring yet again in the 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar in which he saved a last-minute penalty to earn his side a point.
Most remarkable and illustrative of how well the 36-year-old is going is that of six penalties he has faced this season, he has only let in two.
The Heart's inaugural player of the year last season, it's arguable he is having a better season this time around.
And the fact Bolton's future was in question early in the season because of a chronic groin problem makes his efforts even more noteworthy.
But as Bolton weighs up whether to go on for another year, van `t Schip said the keeper's decision needed to be made with his own fitness and happiness in mind rather than how well he was playing.
"I've seen that he has got a lot of confidence and he is feeling good compared to the start of the season when he had a shoulder injury and some groin problems," van `t Schip said.
"They all seem to have been resolved ... so I would say as long as you feel good and you're happy, continue with playing.
"He's training longer and more intense than at the beginning (of the season).
"With the experience he has, it's not important that he has to train a lot to learn lots of things.
"For him, it's maybe not a bad thing he's doing a little bit less, and with his experience he's really fresh for when we start the games."
Much may depend on how well the Heart perform as to whether two-time A-League champion Bolton continues playing.
The Heart remain outside chances to host a home final, but beating third-placed Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Saturday would help their cause immeasurably.
The Phoenix (39 points) and Perth Glory (37) are clear of the Heart and Newcastle (34), and a win would virtually wrap up a top six spot for the Heart.
Van `t Schip has named an extended 18-man squad for the match, adding Olyroos Craig Goodwin and Jason Hoffman and striker David Williams to the outfit which drew with the Roar.