MELBOURNE Victory coach Ange Postecoglou has moved swiftly on uncontracted stars with the club's player of the season Ante Covic dumped today, along with Grant Brebner.
The goalkeeper was one of a handful of Victory players out of contract, along with Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez.
With two fellow shot-stoppers already locked in (Tando Velaphi and Lawrence Thomas), Covic's time was up despite being the club's most consistent performer this season and picking up the club's Player of the Year award at the club dinner at the weekend..
"Uncontracted players we'll make decisions over in the next few weeks but the reality of it is that the club has two contracted goalkeepers and I don't think we'll be fitting in a third," Postecoglou said in the midst of his first training session at the club.
"We've got plenty of time, you go into a new job you obviously have to assess what's there and some of the players are locked in but I think looking at it from a quick summary, there is enough flexibility for me to do what I want to do."
Postecoglou said he had not yet contacted Hernandez but did intimate he would like to have room to move in the salary cap in order to bring in some fresh faces.
"He's (Hernandez) one of the ones we need to make a decision on, there were some initial discussions around his commercial arrangements, I'll have a look at that," Postecoglou said.
"We work around the salary cap so I've got to be able to make sure I want to do what I want to do in terms of recruiting before we lock away too much of the salary cap."
The club this afternoon confirmed Covic and veteran midfielder Brebner had been axed by the club.
“When I first came out from Scotland it was a bit of a step into the unknown, but 6 years down the path I’ve enjoyed plenty of success here and I’m even an Australian citizen now, so it’s been a great experience," said Brebner today.
“Obviously the trophies we won will forever be the highlight, but I’ve made a lot of great friends over the years too."
But Covic was disappointed not to have won another contract.
“I was pretty happy with my season last year and was hopeful of getting another contract, but sometimes things don’t work out that way in football,“ Covic said.
Managing Director Richard Wilson said, “Grant and Ante have made great contributions to our club and we thank them for what they have given to us, not just on the pitch, but off it also.
“Both boys have won the Victory Medal so that in itself is a fair reflection of the impact they’ve had since joining Melbourne Victory, and we wish them all the best for the future,
With the final two years of Harry Kewell's conditional deal set to be triggered, Hernandez's future is the next in doubt as Ange work shis way through the new squad.
"We've got to start working pretty quickly, we're doing a fair bit of work just making sure strategically we're in a good place," Postecoglou added.
"So obviously the players out of contract (we need to be) making some decisions on them pretty quickly and also the ones we want to bring in.
"I'm pretty anxious to get things locked away pretty quickly before the end of the month so that'll mean a fair bit of work between now and then to get in the ones we want and make sure the squad and staffing is all organised by the end of the month."
After a long pause the former Roar coach described Gold Coast starlet Ben Halloran as a potential target but ruled out signing Qantas Socceroo veteran Scott Chipperfield, who is set to return to the Hyundai A-League after 11 seasons and seven titles with Swiss club FC Basel.
"... No priorities (in terms of targeting players), just we want to bring in good players, he's (Halloran) a good player so he's definitely somebody we'll look at but there's a number we're looking at, at the moment," said Postecoglou.
"In terms of the targets, there's a few that I've identified and would like to bring in but when you're in this sort of game, I don't really like to talk about them until they're over the line.
"But I would think there will be a few announcements within the next two weeks.
"Scotty will be great for the A-League, hopefully he does come back, probably not for us. I've tended with my recruiting to go for guys who, for want of a better word, are a bit younger in terms of the kind of game we want to play.
"There's a fair bit of experience at the club anyway so I don't think that's the area we're really lacking in, particularly in his position, we'll be looking at other positions."
Postecoglou said initial training sessions and the May 19 friendly with Olympiacos would be good chances to cast his eye over some of the squad's younger members while ruling Kewell and captain Adrian Leijer out of the clash.
He added: "This next three weeks gives me an opportunity to have a good look at some of the young ones who were in the youth team last year or on the fringes of the first team to see if anyone stands out.
"Really this Olympiacos game will give me a chance to have a look at some of the other (players) maybe I wouldn't have had a chance to look at."