New signing Salley 'is a winner by nature': Bleiberg

The arrival of hardman Jonas Salley means the possibilities are endless for Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg as he searches for an answer to his side's defensive headaches.

The arrival of hardman Jonas Salley means the possibilities are endless for Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg as he searches for an answer to his side's defensive headaches.

But for the second time this season, red tape threatens the availability of a new signing ahead of Sunday's match with embattled Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.

Bleiberg said Salley is a 60-40 proposition of taking on Victory, with the only obstacle being the Ivorian-born enforcer's international transfer clearance from Chinese club Chengdu Blades.

If it comes in time for Sunday, it means the United boss will have the luxury of shuffling his pack to find the right mix to stop the two-time Hyundai A-League champions from any form of resurgence after a week of off-field drama.

The addition of an outsider in Salley could also jolt bottom-placed Gold Coast back into form after three successive losses, according to Bleiberg.

"The only problem with football is that the less success you have, the deeper it goes," he said.

"The sooner we get our success the better. One of the ways to do that is to inject some players who don't suffer from these scars."

"Hence Jonas Salley. He's a winner by nature, you can see it at training."

Most Hyundai A-League fans would remember 29-year-old Salley as a defensive midfielder, which was his main position in previous stints with Adelaide, Sydney and New Zealand.

But he is also capable of playing at centre-half, which captain Michael Thwaite believes is an ideal situation for United.

Thwaite was impressive and a real source of energy in midfield in the second half during Gold Coast's 2-1 loss at home to Melbourne Heart last weekend, while tall Dutch anchor Paul Beekmans can also slot in at the back if needed.

"I quite enjoy playing in midfield. It's more to put out the fires," Thwaite said.

"I can help cover the defence as much as possible, first and foremost, but if I get the opportunity to stream forward then I'll do so."

"We have to tighten things up at the back. We have to defend a lot better and stop copping cheap goals."

"Especially against Melbourne - they have a lot of dangerous attacking players."

But few on the Glitter Strip are expecting Victory to do them any favours this weekend.

After a week that saw the departure of football director Francis Awaritefe, the split of Harry Kewell from long-time manager Bernie Mandic and the recruitment - then denial - of Abel Balbo as Kewell's personal mentor and coach, it would be easy to think they were there for the taking.

But Bleiberg remains wary as ever.

"I'm just looking at Melbourne Victory as a team," he said.

"They're in the same situation as us. I can't even be critical - we're both underachieving at the moment."

"Neither team, due to results, should be oozing with confidence. I'll be doing everything within my power to make sure it's my team who forgets the past and looks to the future."