Football Federation Australia (FFA) may have another battle on their hands with Adelaide United promising to "fight" to prevent several of their Olyroos from playing in January's AFC Under-23 Championship.
The Reds could lose up to six members of their squad throughout January with the Olyroos to compete at the continental under-age tournament in China.
Paul Izzo, Jordan O’Doherty, George Blackwood, Daniel Margush, Ben Warland and Ben Garuccio are all in the mix to be part of the squad.
United have history in this domain, with general manager of football Ante Kovacevic slamming an Olyroos camp which he labelled a “joke” in July.
Reds coach Marco Kurz was the latest to voice his displeasure, warning the FFA may face a fight.
“It’s not an official tournament, so if it’s possible that the players stay by the club then it’s good for us,” Kurz said.
“I think the club will fight for these players to stay in Adelaide.
“We had the same problem in August and we have no chance.”
The AFC Under-23 Championship is due to run from January 9-27 in China.
Kurz said the tournament would affect United much more than other A-League clubs.
“It’s different when you give young players the chance to play and adapt,” he said.
“Maybe we can (lose) from our squad four or five players for this tournament. We can lose three starters, Paul Izzo, Garuccio and Blackwood.
“That’s for us is not easy and maybe a bigger problem than for other clubs.”
Kurz also said the tournament meant United were unlikely to make a move for ex-midfielder Riley McGree during January.
The Reds lost Karim Matmour this week, with the Algerian opting to return to Germany with his family, due to his wife’s homesickness.
A loan move from McGree, who hasn’t played a first-team game for Club Brugge, has been speculated as a possible replacement option.
“It’s a good option for us as it will be an Australian player, who knows the league and the club, but Riley in January is in a tournament for the Under-23s,” he said.
“If he’s in the squad then he’d miss five games. It makes no sense to bring a player who’s not available in January for our club.”