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Ferguson seeks to fill Mehmet void

Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson has confirmed the club are targeting an overseas replacement for departing striker Billy Mehmet.

Mehmet, 29, is set to pen a two-year deal with Thai Premier League side Bangkok Glass on Monday, freeing up an international spot on Glory’s roster, which Ferguson has already taken steps to fill.

“Obviously the January window is now open, and we’ve got one or two irons in the fire overseas,” he said.

“We’re waiting to see what happens with those, whether they are still progressing.

“We have put a couple of things to certain players and hopefully if it comes off, it’ll be great for Perth Glory.”

Ferguson went on to reveal that a desire to play regular first-team football was behind Mehmet’s surprise decision to jump ship, having made nine starts and five substitute appearances this season, scoring three goals in the process.

“I can’t guarantee anyone a first team place, and Billy is 29 and he wants to be playing regularly,” Ferguson said.

“It’s disappointing, but we don’t want unhappy players here either and if anyone wants to move on and head overseas, we won’t stand in their way.

“And we’ve got good attacking cover.

“Travis Dodd can play up there, as can (Steven) McGarry and we’ve got (Chris) Harold and (Ryo) Nagai as well.

“Hopefully the players we bring in will do a good job for us.”

Ferguson went on to confirm that he expects marquee man Shane Smeltz to be fit enough to start the nib Stadium clash despite picking up a groin injury in training earlier this week.

“We pulled Smeltzy out of training yesterday just a precautionary measure,” he said.

“He was a little bit tight, but he’s back in full training today and at this moment, he’ll be fine for tomorrow.

“The physios have checked him over and we’re happy with where he’s at.”

Fri 4 January, 2013
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