Jets cook up wish list

A PROVEN striker and an experienced midfielder are at the top of Jets coach Branko Culina's recruitment agenda.

The playing squad broke up two weeks ago, but Culina has been working overtime talking to agents and studying DVDs.

"This is the most important part of the season," the coach said.

"It's like a restaurant. It might open at 7pm but from midday onwards the chefs are preparing for the meals.

"Players and supporters might be enjoying the off-season, but for us in the football department and management, this is the busiest time of the year."

Culina met with assistant coach Mark Jones and football operations manager Craig Deans last week to discuss recruitment.

"We know what positions we need, and for me, the important thing is not to change our mind," Culina said.

"Stick to what we really need, get that first and then build around it.

"Down the spine, any one of those three positions, but in particular a controlling midfielder and a striker who is going to score you 10 to 12 goals.

"We will always give young players a chance, but if we want a genuine chance of winning, we need to help these youngsters by bringing in a couple of experienced players.

"We were the youngest side in the competition, particularly in the finals, and in the end it told."

Culina said it was unlikely that he would fill the priority positions from within Australia.

Apart from the key signings, holes left by Matt Thompson and Song jin-Hyung also have to be filled.

"We need to try and replace Thommo and Song as well as bring in a couple of new ones," he said.

"'They are not easy to replace, Thompson in particular. Find me another midfielder going around who scored eight goals."

Culina confirmed much-travelled midfielder Adrian Caceres was a player of interest.

"He is one name which has been put to us," Culina said of the Argentina-born playmaker.

The coach also did not rule out a play for North Queensland Fury flyer David Williams if he became available.

"Someone like David Williams would come in handy," Culina said.

"Obviously, the situation at the Fury needs to be resolved. Initially they said you could talk to players and now they are saying no."

Culina is looking to add "five or six" players to the roster, but upgraded deals for Ljubo Milicevic, Ali Abbas and Labinot Haliti have not left a great deal of room in the salary cap.

"We will have to sign a minimum three to four players from Australia," he said.

Those positions are most likely to go to defenders and come from the NSW and Victorian premier leagues.

"We need some cover in the middle of the defence and we certainly need a bit more cover at left and right back," Culina said.

"Midfield we have enough depth, if we can sign an experienced controlling midfielder. And if we get another genuine striker we will have enough cover there as well. What we want to do is have 20 players who will compete with each other."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop