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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 5 hours ago
Read
Jan 9, 2011

Smeltz back in boost for Gold Coast United

Two aborted overseas deals have ensured two-time Golden Boot winner Shane Smeltz won't be leaving the A-League again any time soon.

Officially the exciting Kiwi international striker has returned to Gold Coast United for the rest of the season.

But Smeltz is looking at the A-League as a long term prospect after falling out with two heavyweight clubs abroad since July.

Smeltz hopes to once again become an "X factor" for United in their final push for a top two berth after being granted an early release from Turkish club Genclerbirligi.

He has been rushed into the United side following their disappointing 2-0 last-start loss to Sydney FC and will return against North Queensland at Skilled Park on Friday night.

Smeltz was hot property after his heroics during New Zealand's undefeated run at the 2010 World Cup.

But his two-year deal in Turkey only lasted five months after a change in management resulted in six appearances and only one goal.

And that followed his bizarre return from China after his transfer with Shandong Luneng fell through in just days due to "personal issues".

No wonder Smeltz wanted to concentrate on establishing himself again as an A-League force.

"It (heading overseas again) is not something I am thinking about to be honest," Smeltz told AAP.

"I just want to focus on playing football again and enjoying myself."

And why not - Smeltz tore the A-League apart last season for United, scoring a whopping 19 goals.

The stage is set for a triumphant return with fourth-placed United desperate for a spark after Bruce Djite and the now injured Joel Porter (calf) managed a total of just five goals in 24 appearances.

"Becoming an X-factor - that's the plan," Smeltz said.

"Little changes can spark a side.

"There's no denying they need it at this stage.

"It's probably pretty good timing for the club - hopefully we can get back on the right track on Friday."

Smeltz could not hide his joy after returning from Turkey.

"What happened to me in Turkey happens to a lot of people in football.

"I came back from international duty and there had been a big clean-out at the club in terms of management - a new coach, a new assistant coach and new general manager.

"With that comes different opinions and I found myself on the outer.

"I didn't fancy sitting another year and a half on the sidelines so we came to a solution.

"The family is pretty pleased to be back - hopefully I can enjoy myself and play some good football."

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