Haliti latest to go in Jets cull

LABINOT Haliti will not be at Ray Watt Oval when the Jets kick off pre-season training on Monday.

Although the wholehearted striker says no one from the club’s coaching staff or front office has officially told him that he is not part of their plans, the 26-year-old reads the silence as an indication that he is unwanted for the 2012-13 A-League season.

A veteran of 92 games for the Jets, Haliti is one of 10 players whose contract expired on April 30.

Management announced last week that Tarek Elrich, Jeremy Brockie and Ali Abbas would not be retained.

Matt Nash and Kasey Wehrman were told midway through the campaign that they were surplus to requirements.

Korean Byun Sung-hwan and English striker Francis Jeffers have returned home.

Former Premier League striker Michael Bridges is expected to sign a new one-year deal by the end of the week but there has been no mention, not publicly anyway, on the future of Haliti or left back Mario Simic.

Simic made one appearance off the bench against Melbourne Victory in round 15.

Haliti is a foundation player and featured in 16 games, eight as a starter, and scored three goals.

‘‘I have not had any contact from them since the end of the season,’’ Haliti told the Herald. ‘‘During the season I had a few talks with them, but it was never confirmed 100 per cent.

‘‘I thought they might have brought it up last week when they made it public that the others, Tarek, Brockie and Ali would not be re-signing.

‘‘In saying that, when you don’t get anything, you know where you stand. I won’t be at training, I know that.’’

When contacted last night for clarification on the contract status of Haliti and Simic, a Jets spokeswoman said ‘‘both were out of contract and were not renewed’’.

The Jets have signed exciting young attackers James Brown and Adam Taggart, and, including Bridges, have five places to fill on their roster.

Ryan Griffiths, Marko Jesic and James Virgili are the other forwards on the Jets’ books.

‘‘You might not get some things from me, but you will always get heart,’’ Haliti said. ‘‘One thing I know is that whenever I put that jersey on I was 100 per cent.

‘‘I have been here on and off from day one. I have the utmost respect for the club and the fans. The fans are everything to me.

‘‘To think I’m leaving. Of course I am disappointed. I can’t put it into words.’’

A Kosovo refugee, Haliti’s last game for the Jets was the scoreless draw against Adelaide in Bathurst in round 18. Before that he had appeared in every game bar the round-two and round-12 fixtures against Wellington.

‘‘I never really got an explanation as to why I was dropped,’’ Haliti said.

‘‘That was the most frustrating part. I am a professional and am mature enough to have accept an explanation. At least then you get some feedback.’’

Haliti said he had interest from other clubs and while his preference was to stay in Newcastle he was confident of finding another A-League home.

‘‘Asia is an option, but I would prefer to stay in the A-League,’’ he said. ‘‘I expect to know in the next fortnight what I am doing.’’

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