Around the grounds: Corica wants new striker, Glory sign international, ex-Premier League coach joins Victory

Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica wants to sign a replacement for departed top scorer Adam Le Fondre ahead of the Sky Blues’ double A-League title defence.

English marksman Le Fondre notched 21 goals during the 2019/20 campaign to fire the Harbour City club to an unprecedented fourth Premiers Plate and fifth Championship trophy.

The 33-year-old signed for Indian outfit Mumbai City this off-season following 39 goals in 57 A-League matches in Sky Blue, leaving only youngsters Trent Buhagiar and Luke Ivanovic to support experienced Kiwi front man Kosta Barbarouses. 

Corica is currently preparing his team to play in the rearranged group stage of the 2020 AFC Asian Champions League in Doha, Qatar, and the two-time Championship-winning head coach admits he may have to be patient to get a new striker through the door.

“To not replace [Le Fondre] would be silly of me," Corica told ftbl.com.au“I think until we find one, Trent Buhagiar and Luke Ivanovic are both talented young boys that will step up and do a job.

“We are looking at Champions League at the moment. I don't know if we'll have a striker by then.

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“[Ivanovic and Buhagiar] are going to have the opportunity to stake their claim to put themselves forward to be that number nine."

With four games remaining in Group H, Sydney FC will face off against Shanghai SIPG of China (twice), Jeonbuk Motors of Korea Republic and Yokohama F. Marinos of Japan at Khalifa International Stadium in November and December.

Former Central Coast Mariner, Buhagiar, was used as an impact player in the A-League last season, scoring three goals from one start and 19 substitute appearances, while 20-year-old youth product Ivanovic made one start and 13 appearances from the bench in 2019/20, scoring once.

“It's about what's available,” Corica added. “Obviously the climate has changed a bit with COVID, the amount of money in the salary cap has dropped as well.

“Whatever money we have available we'll try and get the best person for that role.”

WATCH: Luke Ivanovic strikes against Melbourne City last season.

Glory snag experienced international

Perth Glory have add a key defensive piece for the new A-League season in the form of experienced Curaçao international Darryl Lachman.

The 30-year-old centre-back, who was born in Amsterdam, has 30 caps for the Caribbean island nation and has racked up 200 appearances in the Dutch Eredivisie for four different clubs.

Lachman, who has inked a two-year deal in Western Australia, joins from Israeli Premier League outfit Hapoel Ra'anana and has also turned out for Sheffield Wednesday in the English Championship.

“Darryl is a strong central defender who is very calm in possession and an excellent distributor of the ball,” Garcia told perthglory.com.au

“He’s very much a leader at the back who communicates and organises extremely well and also has a good turn of pace.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he has all the qualities required to make a big impact for us this year and we’re delighted to have him on board.”

Daryll Lachman
Darryl Lachman stars for Curacao against Jamaica in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Former Premier League coach appointed at Victory

Once the manager of Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, Steve Kean has joined Grant Brebner's coaching staff at Melbourne Victory as assistant coach.

The 53-year-old has previously served as an assistant at Fulham, Reading and Spanish La Liga side Real Sociedad, before enjoying managerial stints in Singapore and with the Brunei national team.

“I’m looking forward to working alongside Grant [Brebner] and my fellow coaching staff to help the club get back to where it wants to be,” Kean said in a club statement.

“Grant and I have had honest conversations about what we need to do over the pre-season to get the team ready for another big campaign in the A-League. I can’t wait to arrive at the club and get to work with Grant, the players and the staff.”

Steve Kean on the touchline during his time in charge of Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.
Steve Kean on the touchline during his time in charge of Blackburn Rovers in the English Premier League.

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