Allsopp return unlikely

Melbourne Victory does not believe it will be able to convince striker Danny Allsopp to return to the Hyundai A-League, with a host of Asian clubs apparently seeking the signature of the 31-year-old after his departure from Qatari club Al Rayyan.

Melbourne Victory does not believe it will be able to convince striker Danny Allsopp to return to the Hyundai A-League, with a host of Asian clubs apparently seeking the signature of the 31-year-old after his departure from Qatari club Al Rayyan.

Both Victory coach Ernie Merrick and football operations manager Gary Cole said that while Allsopp said that Melbourne is the only club in the Hyundai A-League he would consider coming back to, that it was likely the dual championship-winning player would opt for another deal overseas.

"We continue to speak to Danny and if Danny Allsopp stays in Australia, I'm sure he'll be a Melbourne Victory player," Cole said. "But I don't think he'll be staying in Australia."

"I believe he was leaving Qatar overnight and arrives back in Melbourne today for a brief respite, but I don't think he'll be here very long."

Cole confirmed the club has room in its salary cap to accommodate Allsopp should he return.

Merrick, meanwhile, seems resigned to losing out in the battle for Allsopp's services.

"It's pretty unlikely," he said. "He's getting some very lucrative offers overseas and I'm pretty sure he's going to take one of those."

There was some positive news for the club, with Grant Brebner agreeing to a 12-month extension. The 32-year-old has been at the club for four seasons and Cole said that he was a vital part of their current squad.

"Grant's an experienced player with two premierships, two championships and a pre-season trophy under his belt. Obviously this will be his second run in the Asian Champions League so his experience is invaluable for us," Cole said.

The Scot was happy with a 12-month deal, having established himself in Australia not only professionally, but personally, with his citizenship set to be completed in June.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't playing on my mind. When you are coming out of contract, it's always something that's at the back of your mind. Thankfully it's put to bed now and I've got another seasons sorted out," he said.

"To stay with Melbourne Victory was important. It would have been a real wrench to leave the club especially with the success we've had. The citizenship is something I want to get cemented and once that comes in it's beneficial for both myself and the club."

Brebner is set to return to the starting line-up for Saturday's match against Perth having recovered from an ankle injury which saw him miss four weeks and then come off the bench in the last two matches.

He replaces Matthew Kemp, who misses out through injury, but Merrick would not be drawn further on the make-up of his starting XI.

Meanwhile, Cole confirmed that the three remaining uncontracted players, Nathan Elasi, Mathew Theodore and Steven Pace, would be released by the club at the end of the season.