Maturing Cummings leads Mariners' ALM GF quest
Even if the A-League Men grand final is his last game for Central Coast, Jason Cummings says he owes Mariners coach Nick Montgomery an immeasurable debt.
Cummings has been heavily linked with a move to mega-rich Indian outfit Mohun Bagan in recent months and the interest is in no doubt caused by his red-hot form.
After an 18-month spell in Gosford, Cummings has revitalised his career, scored 27 goals in 48 games, represented Australia, and become a fan favourite for the Mariners.
His only regret is that he wished he had met Montgomery earlier in his career.
"If I had 'Monty' when I was 18 or 19 I'd be playing in the Premier League," Cummings told AAP.
"He's the best gaffer I've had by far, on and off the pitch.
"The way he is with you ... I'm glad we've crossed paths but if I'd had him when I was younger it would have been unbelievable."
Cummings' arrival in Australia was only made possible when he was shown the door by Scottish side Dundee for a breach of discipline.
His talent was never in question, his application was.
When Central Coast came in for him they appeared the only viable option on the table.
"I was struggling for a club, the only teams that I had (interested) were part-time clubs like Arbroath and Ayr," he said.
"I said to myself; 'this is it, I need to get my head down and embrace it'. It's been the best decision of my life."
Cummings has become the figurehead of Montgomery's Mariners revival.
The club reached the FFA Cup final last season before finishing second this year and qualifying for the ALM grand final against Melbourne City.
Perhaps owing to The Joker tattoo on his hand, the Scottish-born forward has had a reputation for being the class clown.
But he says the move to the Mariners has made him wise up.
"I feel I've learned there's a time and a place to have a laugh and a joke," he said.
"When it comes to the games I'm fully focused.
"I'm only 27, I think I'm the fourth oldest here and that's made me be one of the lads that the younger boys lean on.
"It has changed the way I am, but I'm still here for a good time."
Cummings hopes those good times can continue on Saturday.
But if his social media pages are anything to go by - he complains of being inundated with messages from Indian fans - it may be his last game for the Mariners for some time.
"It's obviously good to get the recognition, that's a good feeling because I've been on the other side where nobody wants you," he said.
"I've always said my focus is on the grand final and once that's out the way I'll take it from there, you never know in football."