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Jun, 4, 2012

Sydney FC coach targets strikers

After further bolstering Sydney FC's defence with the addition of Socceroo Adam Griffiths, new coach Ian Crook is now putting a priority on strengthening his strike force.

Griffiths 32, who has been signed primarily as a central defender but can also play in midfield, hasn't played for a club in his home city of Sydney for over a decade.

"He's played a lot of his career as a midfield player, so he's comfortable in possession, which is what we want our central defenders to be," Crook said.

"But he is a physical presence and he brings some experience back there for us."

Griffiths, who has won two Socceroo caps and an A-League title at Newcastle, worked under Crook at Northern Spirit and Newcastle and has spent the last two seasons at Chinese Super League club Hangzhou.

"I'm looking forward to some normality in my life, and excited about being home," Griffiths said.

"Living in Asia, it's a different culture, different people."

Adam's twin Joel is still in China with Shanghai Shenhua, while another sibling, Ryan, is already back in the A-League at Newcastle.

Signed up for one year, Griffiths is the third newcomer to arrive at Sydney since Crook took over three weeks ago.

Crook's previous signings were left-sided players in Brazilian defender Fabio and attacking midfielder Ali Abbas.

With forwards Juho Mahela, Bruno Cazarine and Mark Bridge all released over the past two months, Crook is looking to supplement a frontline featuring exciting youngsters Joel Chianese and Mitch Mallia.

"I think that's a really important area for us," Crook said.

"We've strengthened in certain areas now on the left, and certainly at the back, and it's important now that we bring the right one in up front and not just jump in to something.

"The way I want to play I don't know if I really want a target man.

"I want somebody that has got some pace in there and maybe a little bit technically that is smart.

"I don't want to particularly play long, into people, so we're going to be trying to play in and around into feet.

"We're looking with somebody with a little bit of quality."

Crook said the rivalry between Sydney and the new Western Sydney franchise should be embraced and he was delighted by the presence of coaches Tony Popovic and Ante Milicic at the fledgling club.

"It will be a friendly rivalry, should we say, between coaches but I think it will be great for the league," Crook said.

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