Rivals circle Gold Coast youngsters

The vultures are circling Gold Coast United but coach Miron Bleiberg says the club's youth-first policy should be enough to keep the likes of boom youngster James Brown on the Glitter Strip.

The vultures are circling Gold Coast United but coach Miron Bleiberg says the club's youth-first policy should be enough to keep the likes of boom youngster James Brown on the Glitter Strip.

Brown, 21, heads a lengthy list of players at United whose contracts expire at the end of the current season, leaving them open to raids from rival clubs.

The versatile Brown is in the midst of a breakout season at Hyundai A-League level, and there is little doubt his performances in the heart of Gold Coast's attacking third would have attracted plenty of interest.

And the mind games have already begun.

Earlier in the week, newly appointed Sydney FC football director Gary Cole said he was "excited" by the number of promising young stars coming off-contact at the end of the season.

"Whether we can make them fit inside the salary cap or whether they want to move, who knows?" he said.

But Bleiberg was far from shaking in his boots at Cole's not-so-subtle overtures, saying nothing will stop Gold Coast from running through their usual process - which will begin in January when the club sits down with their players.

"The guy from Sydney is new in his job so he has to say something. It's the last thing that frightens me," he said.

"We're not under pressure, Clive (Palmer) explained to the players that in January he will start to talk about contracts. Nobody will pressure us, nothing changes. All the rest is irrelevant."

United's decision to promote a number of players from their two-time National Youth League-winning team this season could help in their battle to fend off the poachers.

It is a significant carrot - particularly in contrast with the Sky Blues, who have let the likes of Matt Jurman, Kofi Danning and Iain Ramsay slip through their fingers in previous years.

While Gold Coast have a number of key experienced players, they have also been happy to give important roles to Brown, defenders Dylan McGowan and Zac Anderson and attacking pair Ben Halloran and Golgol Mebrahtu.

"There are a lot of guys here who live on the Gold Coast and we're renown now that we give a chance to a lot of young players. From what I saw from Sydney, their average age is 30-plus," Bleiberg said.

"If any of our young guys want to leave and go to Sydney and watch games from the bench... even Matt Jurman, who plays for the Roar now in a key role now, he wouldn't get a game there."

"That's up to them. I get every day an average of 20-30 emails from around the world and from Australian players who want to come to the Gold Coast."