Miron 'relieved' by Smith move

Gold Coast United boss Miron Bleiberg says he feels 'personally relieved' now that discarded American striker Alex Smith has found a new home at the Wellington Phoenix.

Gold Coast United boss Miron Bleiberg says he feels 'personally relieved' now that discarded American striker Alex Smith has found a new home at the Wellington Phoenix.

Smith was controversially dumped by United back in August when the club moved to pay out the 26-year-old's contract to make way for another visa player, Dutchman Maceo Rigters.

The American, who can also play in midfield, had only signed with Gold Coast in June from NSW Premier League champions Sydney Olympic and was yet to have played a competitive game, let alone a friendly match against Hyundai A-League opposition.

But the former FC Dallas player, who was hampered by injury during his brief spell at United, has impressed in trials across the Tasman with the Phoenix, who have offered Smith what is believed to be a short-term injury-replacement deal.

Though he will not feature when Wellington travel to the Gold Coast for their season opener on Sunday at Skilled Park, the fact that Smith now has an opportunity at another club was music to the ears of Bleiberg, who said the manner of his departure was 'unfortunate' but necessary.

"I'm relieved and happy for Alex Smith," Bleiberg said.

"He's a lovely guy. You don't find too many like him in the football industry."

"He's lovely, honest, and it's unfortunate that for the sake of the team we had to release him and bring in someone more suited for us."

"But it was still on my conscience. Now that he's found a team I'm very happy. It's a personal relief."

Ironically, the man whose availability was the very reason for Smith's departure - ex-Blackburn Rovers marksman Rigters - is highly unlikely to play on Sunday due to a bureaucratic bungle.

The Dutchman is still awaiting approval of his working visa, which is taking longer than usual because in the haste that surrounded his recruitment, the club forgot to tell him to bring a certain piece of paperwork with him.

Rigters, who trialled with Wellington but could not agree to terms on a contract, is only a '2.5 per cent' chance of making his debut for the Glitter Strip club this weekend, according to Bleiberg.

"The reality is that it will probably not happen (in time)," he said.

"It opens the door for other guys. One person's bad luck is someone else's good luck."

"If his replacement scores a goal, then you realise that this (red tape) has come from upstairs."