ADELAIDE United won’t get distracted by specualation over the future of manager Marco Kurz, while former Socceroo star Brett Holman is pondering whether or not to hang up his boots or play on with the Brisbane Roar.
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ADELAIDE WON’T DWELL ON KURZ’ FUTURE
Adelaide United players have vowed to not get distracted by speculation their coach Marco Kurz is a target of A-League leaders Sydney FC.
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Kurz has been touted as a potential replacement for Graham Arnold when he departs the Sky Blues at season’s end to become Socceroos boss. But Adelaide midfielder Daniel Adlung says Reds players must focus on their bid to make the finals rather than the future of Kurz.
Adlung says the Sydney FC speculation isn’t a surprise given the German coach’s stellar first season at Adelaide.
“That is normal because he did a good job here with a young team and a lot of the players are new, so it’s always hard,” Adlung told reporters on Tuesday. “And this is football.
“We have to focus on now and not what happens in one month or in two months.” Adlung is a Kurz signing who arrived in Adelaide from 1860 Munich in Germany, and said he such speculation was the norm.
“I really get used to it because in Munich, we get every four weeks a new coach,” Adlung said.
“I know that this can happen. We will see what happens in the future.” Kurz, a 48-year-old with coaching experience in the Bundesliga, has steered Adelaide to sixth spot in the A-League.
And while still scrapping to secure a finals slot, Kurz has won plaudits for his moulding a largely inexperienced squad and overcoming a spate of injuries. Kurz’s United were beaten in the FFA Cup final by Sydney FC, who are on the hunt to replace Arnold when he departs at the end of June.
Sky Blues hierarchy were also believed to have been further impressed by Kurz when United held the league pacesetters to a scoreless draw in January. Adelaide’s team in that game featured 11 South Australian players – six of them under 20 years old.
HOLMAN PONDERS ROAR EXTENSION
Brett Holman admits thoughts of retirement have crept into his mind as he nears the end of his Brisbane Roar A-League contract.
But a restructured football department, new training facility in Logan and a late-career form revival appear to have convinced the former Socceroos attacker to play on for another season.
Holman, 33, told reporters on Tuesday he’d had preliminary talks with new Roar football director Pedj Radinovic and coach John Aloisi about his future. At one stage hanging up the boots was a serious consideration but after overcoming an injury-wrecked first half to the season, he said he was more likely to continue playing.
“I think when it gets to that stage, you’re getting older and this year with a couple of injuries, you look back and it’s like, what’s going with my body?” Holman said.
“Probably (retirement) is in the back of your mind, if I’m honest. “But we’ve got a couple of great additions to the team in regards to a physio, now sports conditioning.
“Hopefully next year we’ll move into a great facility.
“All those things actually help. If that’s the case, then I’m all for it.” Discussions about Holman’s future had been shelved for the time being because he said the Roar’s next five matches were “so crucial” to their finals hopes. But he said if he didn’t feel like he was able to play at his best – as he has in recent weeks – he would “think twice” about playing on.
“If that’s the case, then I don’t want to do that. I want to be there to contribute and be one of the outstanding ones,” he said.
Holman is currently on a marquee contract but if he does stay on, he will almost certainly come under the salary cap.
Meanwhile, Holman said he believed Brisbane’s opponents on Saturday night – Sydney FC – had lost their aura in recent weeks.
The Sky Blues have crumbled in the AFC Champions League and were beaten in their last A-League start against Newcastle Jets.
The Roar need a near-flawless finish to the season to have any chance of sneaking into the top six but Holman said they were catching Sydney at the right time.
“They’ve been exposed a little bit,” he said.
“That impressive season they did last year, I don’t think (they are) as effective this season.”
MERRICK CONFIRMS VARGAS RETURN
The Newcastle Jets will welcome back marquee Ronald Vargas after a five-month injury layoff, coach Ernie Merrick has confirmed.
In an interview on Fox Sports’ A-League Hour, the manager revealed that the Venezuelan international would travel with the squad for their clash against the Wellington Pheonix in Auckland.
“We’ve got our Venezuelan and our Argentinean back in the team,” Merrick said.
“They’re both in the travelling squad going to Auckland, Pato Rodriguez and Ronny Vargas.”
Vargas broke his leg in late October, while Pato Rodriguez has been out for several weeks with a calf strain.
The return of the pair comes as a timely boost for the Jets, who recently lost star striker Andrew Nabbout to a lucrative deal in the J-League with the Urawa Red Diamonds.