Stand-in Gold Coast United A-League coach Mike Mulvey is ready to take on the job fulltime if needed, because he's convinced the club has a brighter future than most predict.
Thrust into the head coach's role after a bizarre week which resulted in Miron Bleiberg being suspended by billionaire club owner Clive Palmer, Mulvey led Gold Coast to a brave 1-0 loss to Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Palmer appointed 17-year-old first-gamer Mitch Cooper as captain, banished Bleiberg after the coach described the appointment as a symbolic one, promoted youth team coach Mulvey, then rolled out a team full of teenagers to take on the Heart.
Bleiberg's position appears untenable at Gold Coast.
Now Mulvey could find himself given the job at least for the rest of the season, working with a group of players he has fostered through the club's youth system for the past three years.
Aside from going back to his day-job coaching United's youth team on Sunday, Mulvey admits he doesn't know what his future holds.
But of his club's future - the subject of much conjecture in a season likely to end with the wooden spoon and with only one player signed for next year - Mulvey is far more certain.
He believes Gold Coast's way forward was on display in a fearless and disciplined effort against the far more experienced Heart, who only pinched all three points with substitute Eli Babalj's 79th minute winner.
"The future is absolutely bright for Gold Coast United, I've got no doubt about that," Mulvey said.
"What you've seen tonight is something that's been born in the youth team, and is coming to fruition in the A-League."
While not widely known outside Queensland, Mulvey has been responsible for developing much of the state's best young male and female football talent when in charge of the Queensland Academy of Sport's soccer programs.
Mulvey is believed to have just missed out on the Newcastle Jets coach's job when Branko Culina was sacked - the club opting for Gary van Egmond instead.
A former NSL player with Brisbane Lions, the English-born 48-year-old has no idea whether he will be in charge for Gold Coast's clash with competition leaders Central Coast on Wednesday night, or if long-time colleague Bleiberg will return.
"I'm an ambitious person, but I'm also a loyal person," Mulvey said.
"There's no rush. Whatever steps I have to take in my career I'll take. But this isn't about me, it's about these players ... they were playing for their futures."