City delaying contract decisions

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April 14, 2015 10:39:01 UK

Damien Duff seems certain to be leaving Melbourne City at the end of this season.

Melbourne City coach John van ‘t Schip is putting to one side the club’s looming decisions on their 11 out-of-contract players to put his focus on their finals campaign.

Perth Glory’s suspension from this year’s Finals Series means City, who are 13.00 to win the Grand Final, are guaranteed just their second post-season involvement.

The club, who entered the A-League as Melbourne Heart in 2010-11, made the finals in their second season under van ‘t Schip but the Dutchman departed at the end of the campaign after they lost 3-0 in the first week of the series away to Perth Glory.

This is their first full campaign as Melbourne City and under the control of new owners, and van ‘t Schip will have difficult decisions to make about who to retain for next season.

Apart from Robert Koren, their other six overseas visa players are all out of contract in a month’s time. Former Ireland international Damien Duff, whose season ended early through injury, is highly unlikely to return for 2015/16. That leaves question marks over the likes of Jonatan Germano, Safuwan Baharudin, Kew Jaliens and Harry Novillo.

Six of the squad that played in Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Wellington Phoenix have uncertain futures, including keeper Tando Velaphi. With two matches left before the finals campaign, van ‘t Schip said now was not the time to make decisions over who would be staying.

“It’s important, you don’t decide it in one day,” he said. “We’re talking about it and we’re looking at it. At the moment it’s not having our biggest thoughts, we’re focussing on the football side on the pitch.

“There’s time enough in a few weeks… because then we can really sit down and make decisions that we think are going to hopefully benefit for next year.”

City are 2.75 to win their next game away to Perth Glory, who are 2.40 with the draw 3.50.

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