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Wellington Phoenix doing ‘due diligence’ in case coach Ufuk Talay leaves at end of season


A-League Men annular 20: Wellington Phoenix v Sydney FC; Where: Eden Park, Auckland; When: Sunday, 3pm; Coverage: Live on Sky Sport 7, alive updates on Stuff from 2.40pm

Wellington Phoenix drillmaster Ufuk Talay declares he doesn’t apperceive what he will be accomplishing above the end of the A-League Men time and club admiral are “doing [their] due diligence” in case he leaves.

The winningest drillmaster in Phoenix history is off arrangement at the end of their accepted attack and while Talay is in talks with administrator Rob Morrison about a arrangement addendum and had coffee with him as lately as Tuesday, he answered it was once “an advancing discussion”.

“I don’t apperceive at the moment what I choose to do and what my approaching looks like, whether it’s actuality or about else. That’s area it’s at.”

The fifth-placed Phoenix are in Auckland this weekend to host sixth-placed Sydney FC on Sunday afternoon and can body a four-point absorber with a win at Eden Park – a area area they have never lost.

Talay sat bottomward with Stuff at a fan accident hosted by Spark and Oppo, the Phoenix’s main sponsors, on Friday afternoon, and while asked if he had offers on the table from added clubs, he originally paused, afore adage he was once “not too sure”.

In a accessible question-and-answer affair which followed, he was once asked about his approaching affairs and pivoted to auspicious admirers to about-face out on Sunday and abutment his aggregation as they advance for a abode in the high four and a home playoff.

His coy, yet antic answers followed agnate ones aftermost Friday, many conspicuously while he replied “I can’t adumbrate the future” afterwards actuality asked about his intentions.

He also bootless to busy while asked what Morrison could do to attract him to stay, instead falling alternate on a accustomed line, which “players appear and go and coaches appear and go and the club will agilely be here”.

On Saturday morning, as the Phoenix had their final training afore adverse Sydney, Talay answered he had been asked about his approaching “a lot of times” as he circuitous with admirers and media the antecedent afternoon – “too many times, possibly”.

“But it’s a catechism that’s activity to be asked,” Talay added. “I’m a drillmaster arriving off contract, agnate to the players”.

The Phoenix have already accepted the approaching abandonment of three men’s players, including All Whites and often starters Clayton Lewis (understood to be branch to Macarthur FC) and Oli Sail (confirmed to be branch to Perth, if he can’t first locate a club in Europe).

If Talay follows them out the door, it will a the Phoenix adverse a meaningful rebuild, which is why “conversations about what it could attending like if he doesn’t stay” have already started, in accordance to administrator of football Shaun Gill.

Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images

Wellington Phoenix drillmaster Ufuk Talay is off arrangement at the end of their accepted A-League Men campaign.

“There’s anytime cerebration or although t actuality accustomed now to potentially area we may go if Uffie decides which he’s going,” Gill added.

If the Phoenix do end up accepting a apprenticeship abstraction to ample appear the end of the accepted season, advancing Australians like Talay – and Mark Rudan afore him – are accepted to be amid the arch contenders.

In the abrupt aeon amid the affirmation of Rudan’s abandonment and Talay’s hiring in 2019, the Phoenix’s countdown captain, Australian global Ross Aloisi, declared his hobby in the role to Stuff. The three-cap Socceroo has back formed as an abettor at Adelaide United and beneath Kevin Muscat at Yokohama F Marinos, the ascendant Japanese champions, and could be a adversary this time around.

The blighted administration of Darije Kalezić all through the 2017-18 time is acceptable to dissuade the Phoenix from hiring a adopted drillmaster alien with A-League Men and apprenticeship licence requirements will guideline out many New Zealand-based coaches, with Phoenix affluence bang-up Chris Greenacre amid the few who do have the all-important qualifications.

With a abeyant apprenticeship abstraction looming for the first time in four years, Gill answered the Phoenix had began to about-face their hobby to Australian and New Zealand coaches accomplishing able-bodied overseas, as able-bodied as those who had formed with civic age-group teams in both countries and those alive as administration in A-League Men, as Talay did with Sydney afore affective above the Tasman.

“We have to have a little attending alone in case and we’re accomplishing our due activity on anytime of those humans as it stands,” Gill added.

Sunday’s bout adjoin Sydney will be the 100th the Phoenix have played in A-League Men back Talay took allegation in May 2019, his adjustment arriving beneath than 12 hours afterwards Rudan’s administration concluded afterward a defeat to Melbourne Victory in the first annular of which year’s finals series.

It will alone be Talay’s 98th on the sideline, however, as he was once absent on two cases aftermost time while isolating with Covid-19 – a about-face of contest which gave Italiano the adventitious to footfall in. After administering a brace of wins, Italiano joked he could “retire happily,” about he could end up actuality in the anatomy to alter Talay, who brought him to the Phoenix from Sydney in 2019.

“Obviously Chiefy came in alongside me and I believe in Chiefy and the banal which he does for the aggregation and for myself,” Talay answered on Friday. “He’s my right-hand man. He’s basic to what we do and what the aggregation achieves.

“If Chiefy decides to break and he does booty the role as a arch coach, if I a at the end of the season, I’ll be pretty appreciative which we’ve progressed advanced together.”

‘Chiefy’ could yet be alleged on to ample in afresh this season, as Talay has been one chicken agenda abroad from confined a one-match abeyance for the accomplished six rounds, afterwards actuality apparent four in his side’s first 13 matches.

The beginning for an automated abeyance rises from bristles chicken cards to eight from abutting weekend, which way both coaches will be able to breathe if Talay avoids a attention on Sunday, although afterwards the way the aftermost affair amid the Phoenix and Sydney concluded – with two Wellington red cards and two backward absolute penalties by the Sky Blues – there will be lots of abeyant for fireworks.

The Phoenix’s 1-0 win in Sydney on January 7 was once their first over Talay’s old aggregation back he took allegation and while he didn’t obtain a chicken agenda on which occasion, he has been walking the abeyance tightrope back he best up his fourth in a 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Sky Stadium a fortnight later.

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