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Sep 3, 2007

Glory urges A-League schedule change

Perth Glory coach Ron Smith has urged Football Federation Australia to postpone A-League rounds clashing with international fixtures after losing five players for Sunday's match with Sydney FC.

Smith will be without defender Simon Colosimo, who is part of the Socceroos 21-man squad for the September 11 friendly with Argentina, while David Micevski, Billy Celeski and Nikolai Topor-Stanley are on Olyroos duty for Olympic qualifiers with North Korea and Lebanon on Saturday and the following Wednesday.

A-League coaches around the country will have to perform juggling acts this weekend, with Sydney losing four players, Central Coast Mariners three, and Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets all two.

"I think the scheduling will change in the future, in fact I think it's got to," Smith said.

"It all comes down to planning and scheduling, I know these Olympic qualifiers only come around once every four years but it's something that has to be looked at.

"I'd prefer we postpone the games, but (the FFA's) not done that so we've got to get on with it. That's the bottom line."

Smith could be boosted by a couple of new faces this week, saying he was in the process of signing replacement players for injured defenders David Tarka (hamstring, season) and Hayden Foxe (knee, expected round nine return).

The FFA announced this week the "like for like" policy for replacing players had been abolished, meaning Smith did not have to replace Tarka and/or Foxe with defenders.

"That's sensible, because where am I going to find a left-footed centre-back like David Tarka? You won't find one anywhere in Australia," Smith said.

The Glory boss wouldn't reveal which players he was in the process of signing, but expected an announcement would be made later in the week.

"I'm not saying anything until it's official," he said.

"I've been looking for a while, but the problem was where could I get the players from? Everybody in Perth is playing AFL football.

"The only feasible place to look was overseas or Sydney, which is what I've done.

"It's the only way you can cope with it so you've got enough players to put on the park and a couple of subs."

Sydney could also be without captain Tony Popovic and Brazilian star Juninho this weekend.

Popovic injured his back in a collision with Sydney goalkeeper Clint Bolton early in the 2-2 draw with Adelaide on Saturday night and has struggled to move freely since.

Juninho has a shoulder complaint and the club is awaiting scan results on both players.

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