GOLD Coast United coach Mike Mulvey is tired of developing young players just to see them join other Hyundai A-League clubs.
It started with classy utility James Brown a few weeks ago. Plucked from the AIS in 2008, the tourist strip club took a rough diamond and turned him into a potential star. Now he's off to Newcastle.
This week, Ivorian flyer Adama Traore became the second casualty of the talent raid at United. The 22-year-old will join Melbourne Victory next year, but it was Gold Coast who gave him his first chance.
With the future of the embattled club still up in the air, there will no doubt be more to come.
But in a statement of defiance ahead of the club's penultimate game of the season, at home to Perth Glory on Sunday, Mulvey said he can't bear to see it happen again.
"The work that we've done here in the last three years ... we don't want to be seen as a nursery for Melbourne Victory or Sydney FC or any other team," he told Sportal.
"That's the danger. If you've got a development program you need something to aspire to.
"In the blink of an eye it could be taken away. Then you'd have to drive up the road to the Roar or interstate to Sydney or Melbourne. We don't want that."
However, Gold Coast fans will get the opportunity to farewell both Brown and Traore over the next two weeks.
Traore will assume his usual position at left full-back against Glory, while Brown has overcome a troublesome ankle injury and is in contention for a spot on the bench.
By rights, after the recent spate of controversy at the club, the two could be forgiven for wanting to exit the Coast to start their new adventures elsewhere.
But Mulvey says they're desperate to rejoin their team-mates in what could be their final fortnight together as a team.
"We're very, very sad to lose these two guys and I'm keen for them to be part of what we're doing for the last couple of games," he said.
"They want to be a part of it as well. They've both been great servants of the club and they're both fantastic characters."
One-time wonderkid Tahj Minniecon and target man Dylan Macallister are also in the mix to take on Glory after finally regaining full fitness.
However, dynamic Dutch forward Maceo Rigters is unlikely to figure after he took a nasty knock to his foot at the club's final training session on Saturday morning.
Mulvey said he was eagerly anticipating the visit of finals-bound Perth, who have never won at Skilled Park.
The Manchester-born coach is hoping that fans vote with their feet and get behind Gold Coast to show the powers that be the value of keeping a team in the area beyond this season.
"We're due a win. I'd say we're in with a good chance," he said.
"What I ask is that the people of the Gold Coast give this bunch of players a chance by coming to have a look, because they're playing for them.
"They'll see a committed bunch of young fellows who are willing to play exciting football, take some risks on the field and have certainly given their all for the game here."