Cap cuts hinder Sydney’s striker search

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica says a reduced A-League salary cap makes it difficult for the Sky Blues to find a replacement striker the calibre of departed marksman Adam Le Fondre.

While the Sydneysiders have been able to compete against Asia’s best teams at the AFC Champions League in Qatar, their failure to convert a host of opportunities has again cost them any chance of advancing to the knockout stages of the competition.

With two group matches remaining – including Tuesday night’s clash against Shanghai SIPG – of their Champions League campaign, Sydney will use the games as preparation for the start of their A-League title defence on December 3 against Melbourne City.

It means that Kosta Barbarouses and Trent Buhagiar are again likely to be used in tandem in attack against Shanghai, with Sydney coach Steve Corica saying the pair would almost certainly also form the Sky Blues’ attack in the opening round of the A-League season.

Corica said the search for a new import striker to replace prolific Englishman Le Fondre, now in India with Mumbai City, would continue, but it might stretch into the January transfer window.

Sydney FC are missing Adam Le Fondre’s goals. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

“We’ve had quite a players to look at but a lot of them are not in our budget at the moment,” Corica said.

“We’re having a bit of trouble with them.

“That’s our main problem at the moment. To fit everyone in the salary cap, the reduced salary cap, they had to take pay cuts but it doesn’t leave us a lot for a striker.

“We’re trying to search for the best one we can for the amount of money we have but it’s going to be very difficult to get a player that’s going to score you 20 goals with the amount of money that we have, but we’re going to do our best to find the best player we can for that amount of money.”

Corica was hopeful midfielder Luke Brattan would be fully recovered from a hamstring injury to play on Tuesday night.

The Sydney coach said teenage goalkeeper Adam Pavlesic would retain his spot despite Tom Heward-Belle’s availability after serving a one-game suspension.

Sydney’s first-choice gloveman Andrew Redmayne did not travel to Qatar due to the impending birth of his child.

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