SYDNEY FC are prepared to consider a short-term coaching appointment in a bid to realise their first priority of reaching the A-League play-offs.
The board will meet on Friday to discuss the state of the global search for a new coach following the shock resignation of Ian Crook on Sunday.
Chief executive Tony Pignata said Alessandro Del Piero’s name on the roster had generated world-wide interest in the position.
But he added the club is prepared to take its time – up to six weeks if necessary – to make sure they get the right man for the job.
“Having Alessandro play for us, it has given the club a higher profile so the level of interest is probably greater from coaches around the world,” Pignata said.
“But we’re not putting any pressure on ourselves by saying we’re going to announce our decision by Monday or Tuesday.
“We’ve got (assistant coach) Steve Corica and we’ve got the utmost confidence in Steve doing the role.
“If it takes one, two, four even a couple more weeks after that so be it. We want to make sure that whoever we get is the right person for the role.
“We can still save this season – we’re only one point away from sixth spot. If the person we get in gets us to the play-offs that is the aim and we’ll build from that.”
Sydney have already chewed through six coaches in just over seven seasons but a short-term appointment is something the board will discuss.
“We haven’t really decided that yet but it’s definitely an option,” Pignata said. “We’re certainly not going to throw this season away.
“The aim is to make the play-offs first and foremost and we’ve got 21 games to go and we consider ourselves a good chance to achieve that at only one point out at the moment.”
Italian coaches, Davide Dionigi (Reggina Calcio) and Luigi De Canio recently sacked by Genoa are among those linked to Sydney FC.
Other names being floated are Gianluca Vialli, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, ex-Chelsea manager Avram Grant and Dutch great Ruud Gullit.
Punters have installed former Socceroos and Brisbane Roar coach Frank Farina as the local favourite but the hot money is on Italian legend and Watford manager Gianfranco Zola.
Former Melbourne Victory manager Ernie Merrick is available since resigning as Hong Kong national team coach although Pignata admitted he may not be a popular choice with fans.
“Probably not,” he said. “I know there’s a rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney but putting that aside Ernie’s won two championships, he’s been very successful in the A-League, understands the league so he does tick a few boxes as well.”
As for pre-season target Graham Arnold, he said: “Everyone knows he was very close to accepting the Sydney FC role but at the moment he’s coaching Central Coast and that is where he’s at.
“I wouldn’t rule him out, but from my understanding he’s signed a contract there and he wouldn’t be available. But he’s a very good coach, probably one of the top coaches in the A-League.”
Pignata said the players were a tight knit group and the dressing room was harmonious despite the poor start to the season and Crook’s resignation.
But they face a huge game against defending champions Brisbane Roar who sit at the bottom of the table and are coming off the back of three straight losses.
“The players at the end of the day were disappointed (about Crook) but they’re professional footballers and their focus is now this Friday night against Brisbane,” he said.
“The way we repay Ian and Steve (Corica) and the whole football club is to go out there and pick up the three points. That’s their main focus and they’re very determined to do that."