Fury coach insists he's fine with Fowler
Frustrated after crisis talks failed to end speculation about Robbie Fowler's future at A-League club North Queensland, Fury coach Ian Ferguson came up with his own unique solution on Tuesday.
"What do you want me to do? Give Robbie a big kiss on the lips so you all believe me?" Ferguson said.
"Look, there's no problem with me and Robbie."
Despite a clearly irritated Ferguson's assurances on Tuesday, talk refuses to go away that Fowler has asked Fury boss Don Matheson to choose between the Liverpool legend and the coach by next season.
And Ferguson admitted on Tuesday that his future would be "judged on results" at the end of the season.
Fowler, who has nine goals but only one for the last 11 rounds, is contracted for another season while Ferguson has two more seasons after their inaugural campaign.
But as for speculation that Fowler had delivered a "him or me" ultimatum to Matheson, Ferguson said: "Never been discussed.
"I walked out that room (after crisis talks on Monday) a lot more happier than I walked into it - Robbie's the same and the chairman's the same."
Officially, the club has blamed a "misunderstanding" for Fowler watching last weekend's 1-1 home draw with Brisbane Roar from the grandstand.
After crisis talks on Monday, Matheson claimed Fowler believed he was not part of the squad against the Roar after Ferguson asked the ex-English international to be an "impact" player off the bench.
But Fowler has since reportedly told Matheson that Ferguson has lost the support of his players.
Yet Ferguson insisted on Tuesday: "At the end of the day the coach makes the decisions.
"I believed it (benching Fowler) was the right decision for the club.
"I don't think it was the worst decision in the A-League by a long shot."
Ferguson said his honest relationship with Fowler had been blown out of proportion.
"There has been speculation about me and Robbie from day one, and it's never been the case," he said.
"Look, you have your arguments in football. What do people expect?"
Ferguson insisted that he had "cleared the air" with Fowler.
"It was a decision (to bench Fowler) that I made but look, it's done now, we move on - it's finished (and) we've made up," he said.
The Fury mentor would not even describe their meeting on Monday as "crisis talks".
"Not at all, it was just a chat. Robbie obviously wasn't happy with what happened - he made a decision but I don't hold grudges," he said.
"We are big enough, old enough and professional enough to have a chat about it, we had a few issues on the weekend and we sorted them out - it's as simple as that."
But asked about his future, Ferguson said: "I will be judged at the end of the season.
"I will be judged on results, where we sit.
"For the first year it has been a rollercoaster ride but I think it has panned out the way we said it would - we've had ups and down."
The Fury sit ninth on the A-League table and remain an outside chance of making the top six for a play-off berth with three rounds remaining.