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Jan 28, 2010

Roar tear up Tiatto's contract

Brisbane Roar cut Danny Tiatto and lost key midfielder Massimo Murdocca to injury in yet another day of tumult at the embattled A-League club.

In a distraction to Saturday night's must-win home clash with second-placed Sydney FC, the Roar on Friday showed former Socceroo Tiatto the door, completing a cleanout of disgruntled veterans in a season of woe.

Tiatto, who had not trained for a week and launched a second blazing attack on coach Ange Postecoglou's management style, followed skipper Craig Moore, goalkeeper Liam Reddy and star import Charlie Miller out of the club.

The four senior players fell out with Roar officials and Postecoglou who replaced coach Frank Farina, sacked mid-season for a drink driving charge.

Added to the acrimony, Farina has taken legal action against the club for his dismissal and continued to criticise the board and new coach in his weekly newspaper column in The Courier-Mail.

Postecoglou dismissed Farina's attacks as a "weekly ritual" and denied they had further destabilised the Roar, who sit in eighth place, four points out of the top six.

"We'll cop a bit of flak and me in particular, it's part of the routine but nothing to worry about," he said.

"I guess it depends how much people believe, but we've moved on weeks ago."

In a major boost for the club's new direction, classy striker Sergio Van Dijk has backed Postecoglou and insists morale is high.

Van Dijk, the league's second leading scorer with 12 goals, seven behind Gold Coast's Shane Smeltz, is off contract at the end of the season but is keen to remain at Ballymore.

"I like the way things are going now," Van Dijk said on Friday.

"Of course there have been a lot of changes and a lot of struggling but you have to see through that and see what's the plan in a new and professional organisation.

"I think there's a good chance the club will do well."

Postecoglou gave Murdocca (quad) every chance to prove his fitness but the midfield workhorse lasted only a few minutes at training.

"He was so keen to get out there tomorrow as it's a big game for the club and so we let him have a try but it's just not right."

Adam Sarota replaces Murdocca, Henrique will return from injury off the bench while Ivan Franjic (calf) must pass a fitness test to line up.

Although victory is crucial to slim play-off hopes, Postecoglou hoped the Roar would be motivated more by rewarding their disappointed fans in the last home game.

A big admirer of hard-working Sydney FC under Vitezslav Lavicka, he still believes the Sky Blues will be under huge pressure to improve their minor premiership claims.

"He's virtually had the same group of players all the way through and they're a well-drilled outfit so we have to be good to beat them, that's for sure," Postecoglou said.

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