TAREK Elrich would love to claim Andy Roberts’s record for the most games played for Newcastle in the national league but the out-of-contract Jets utility is not taking anything for granted.
Elrich is one of eight players whose Newcastle career is in limbo.
The 25-year-old held preliminary talks with the club several weeks ago but according to his manager Tony Rallis is yet to be offered a new deal.
‘‘My agent is sorting all that our for me,’’ Elrich said.
‘‘I don’t want anything to do with that side of things.
‘‘Obviously I have a strong connection with Newcastle. They are the club which gave me an opportunity.
‘‘I have played 134 games for the club. Hopefully I can stay on and break Andy Roberts record [of 234 games].’’
Elrich joined the Jets as a trainee for the inaugural A-League season.
He is the lone survivor from the starting XI which claimed the club’s maiden championship in 2007-08 and a crowd favourite.
‘‘I have never really seen myself playing anywhere else,’’ he said.
‘‘Newcastle is the No.1 priority.
‘‘To see myself in other colours would be pretty tough but football is my profession. If I have to leave to further my career I will.’’
Perth Glory and Sydney FC have both been linked to Elrich. Asia may also be an option.
‘‘I have been doing my agent’s head in telling him to hold off on talks with other clubs, because I want to know what is going on with Newcastle first.’’
Elrich is in his third contract in Newcastle and would need another four years to take him within reach of Roberts’s milestone.
‘‘I still have 10 years left in me I hope, so who knows,’’ Elrich said.
‘‘In the past I have signed two and three-year deals. I’m not too fazed.’’
‘‘Hopefully things will be a lot clearer in the next week or two.’’
Coach Gary van Egmond is conducting a review of the playing roster and chief executive Robbie Middleby expects to be in position to open negotiations by the end of the week. Francis Jeffers, Michael Bridges, Jeremy Brockie, Ali Abbas, Byun Sung-hwan, Labinot Haliti and Mario Simic are also yet to be re-signed.
‘‘Gary will sit down one-on-one with the players this week,’’ Middleby said.
‘‘Once he has completed that he will come back to us with his recommendations.
‘‘From there negotiations will begin. Some will be done quick, some may be ongoing.’’
Elrich has played the majority of his Jets career at right back but after a slow start to the campaign was pushed forward into an attacking role midway through the season.
‘‘I enjoy playing up there,’’he said.
‘‘It suits me more and it’s good to be flexible.
‘‘When Gary was here [in his first term as coach], I played that same role as a left attacker in the Asian Champions League.
‘‘Obviously I would liked to have scored more goals, but as long as I’m involved in helping the boys score I’m happy.’’
Elrich admitted he was envious of the teams competing in the finals after the Jets season flatlined with a draw and two losses in the final three rounds.
‘‘We had our chances to cement a spot in the finals, we just left it it too late,’’ Elrich said.
‘‘I was very jealous to be honest. With the talent in our side, I know it didn’t show with our final place on the table, but second half of the season we were one of the better teams in the league.
‘‘To be honest, I don’t really care who wins it now.’’