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Feb 15, 2012

Perth Glory's Burns, Mehmet renew contract

After signing a two-year contract extension with Perth Glory, striker Billy Mehmet says he's relieved to have swapped the unpredictability of Turkey for the security of Australia's A-League.

Mehmet, who started his career at West Ham in England before moving to Scotland, spent eight months at Turkish club Genclerbirligi before signing for Perth last September on a one-year deal.

The 28-year-old said he couldn't be happier with the move, and had no hesitation in joining skipper Jacob Burns on Thursday in signing a two-year extension.

"Off the park in Turkey you didn't know what was happening," Mehmet said.

"You'd go out there and you wouldn't get paid on time, sometimes you wouldn't even be training with the team.

"If you wanted to do extra work like a bit of shooting there was no goalkeeper. It was honestly a completely different world.

"But here I'm happy and I'm delighted I've got this sorted.

"The boys are brilliant. It's a friendly group, the banter is brilliant and we're tight."

Mehmet was a mainstay of the Glory's starting XI earlier this season, with his tireless work ethic earning high praise from coach Ian Ferguson.

But with Ferguson opting to play Shane Smeltz as a lone striker over the past two months, Mehmet has been forced to bide his time on the bench.

"We're good pals on the park and good pals off the park, so it's not one of those love-hate relationships because we get on really well together," Mehmet said of his rivalry with Smeltz.

"It's a battle, but whoever plays we'll both support each other."

Burns, a former Socceroo whose overseas career included a stint at Leeds United, has been one of the Glory's most consistent performers over the past three seasons.

The 33-year-old said he was over the moon to secure his playing future for the next two years, and revealed he was already eyeing off a coaching role down the track.

"I've done my C-Licence and I'm definitely going to go ahead and push for my B and my A licences through the next couple of seasons," Burns said.

"I've enjoyed my time thoroughly and I'm very thankful for the opportunity to remain here and I really want to be a big part of the football team after football."

Fourth-placed Perth (31 points) will be aiming to bolster their chances for a home final when they host fifth-placed Newcastle (28) on Saturday night.

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