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Tootle's 'slug' goal celebration

The Toe Poke

We can afford Fowler, Chipperfield: Fury

The signings keep coming for new A-League franchise North Queensland - but Fury boss Don Matheson concedes he has his "fingers crossed" as they sweat on their No.1 target putting pen to paper.

Keeping in daily contact with Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, Matheson said the 2009-10 A-League debutants were still hopeful of pulling off a major coup by this weekend.

Also, Matheson claimed North Queensland have not given up on also luring midfielder Scott Chipperfield to Townsville, saying they could afford both the Socceroo and Fowler.

"We've definitely got the clout to bring both of these guys to the club," Matheson told AAP.

"We can afford both. "Fergie (coach Ian Ferguson) has been brilliant with the way he has put the team together."

In the meantime, the Fury have continued to build around a marquee signing by adding a 13th name to their books - former Young Socceroo Chris Tadrosse.

The 23-year-old signed a two-year deal with the A-League newcomers after recently being drafted as short term injury cover by Central Coast Mariners.

He had also been part of Melbourne's inaugural A-League season campaign before playing for two years in Germany.

But of course the name on everyone's lips is Fowler.

The 33-year-old returned to England last Thursday after seeing first hand what the Townsville-based club had to offer.

"We believe we are very close. "We will know by the weekend, simple as that," Matheson said of the ex-England striker.

"And if it is positive it will probably take a few more days to work through logistical issues.

"But at the moment we are confident but we are still a little bit fingers crossed as well."

Switzerland-based Chipperfield, 33, had been seen as the Fury's `Plan B' if talks with Fowler fell through.

But Matheson said both were being pursued.

"We are very comfortable with our position with Scott," he said.

"It would be tremendously exciting to have someone of Scott's stature at the club and we are pushing very hard for that to happen but we are a lot closer with Robbie."

Asked if the Fury had a plan B if Fowler talks soured, Matheson quipped: "My wife is English so we are sending her over there to kidnap him.

"We would seriously consider it if we could get away with it.

"Look, Fergie is talking to two or three other lads, but we are not going to leave it to the last minute and Robbie has promised us that he will make his decision as quickly as possible.

"We are not far off making an announcement one way or another."

Fury players already signed will start arriving in Townsville in preparation for the 2009-10 season on April 1.


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