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Newcastle eye Everton's Lennon - sources


Roar suspect Sydney tricks for Farina

The Queensland Roar laughed off reports Frank Farina is a contender to replace Sydney FC coach Terry Butcher just three days before the clubs meet in a cut-throat A-League clash.

Roar officials completely denied any concerns about losing Farina to the competition's inaugural champions and suspected a Sydney-based report may have had ulterior motives.

Farina and the besieged Butcher's sides go head-to-head in a final-round match on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium which could see either team finish in the top two or miss the play-offs altogether.

If Sydney bomb out of the finals, Butcher's days will be numbered as the club can release him from his two-year deal if he fails to take it into the top four.

Queensland boss Lawrence Oudendyk questioned former Socceroos coach Farina, who has just relocated from Sydney, and was told he wasn't interested in the Blues job.

"He denies any contact from anyone on the board of Sydney FC," Oudendyk said.

"We have an agreement with Frank for the next two and half years and he's committed to us.

"His wife and children are looking for houses and schools, as we speak, for this year.

"I'm not concerned in the slightest. It's just unfortunate that these stories appear three days before we play Sydney."

The Roar is expecting a record crowd of more than 25,000 for the clash which is being billed around Brisbane as `State of Origin ... but not as you know it'.

Sydney FC is facing major personnel issues for the match with Mark Milligan and Terry McFlynn both suspended and Alvin Ceccoli ruled out.

On top of that, Mark Rudan, Ufuk Talay and Sasho Petrovski are all struggling with injuries.

Meantime, Farina went out of his way to distance himself from speculation the Roar would attempt to lure teenage goalkeeper Tando Velaphi away from the Perth Glory.

Perth released Velaphi on a one-week gentleman's agreement to play with Queensland last weekend and starred in the 2-1 upset of Melbourne Victory.

"I would like to make it clear that we have no intention of opening contract negotiations with Tando Velaphi," Farina said in a statement.

"Tando has an agreement with Perth Glory for next season and we are grateful that the Perth Glory club, and their coach, Ron Smith, opened the door for Tando to join us for one week to cover Liam Reddy's suspension.

"Both Queensland Roar and Perth Glory, along with Ron Smith and myself, operate under an ethical code that runs through football at this level and there is no question of either of us undermining our original agreement or our friendship."