Perth Glory chief Tony Sage is confident the club can hang on to prize goalscoring asset Shane Smeltz amid on-going discussions over a new deal for the A-League’s all-time top scorer.
Smeltz is seeking a two-year extension to stay in the west, while Glory is remaining coy over the length of the contract being offered to the 32-year-old New Zealand international.
Smeltz’s 76 goals in 128 A-League appearances have him just out in front of Melbourne Victory’s Archie Thompson on 74.
Though restricted to just three run outs from nine appearances so far in an injury-marred 2013-2014 season, Smeltz remains a hot property with Brisbane Roar keen to snare him as a replacement for Melbourne Victory-bound Besart Berisha.
A number of other A-League clubs are thought to be monitoring the situation.
But Sage believes that Smeltz, who has struck 27 goals in 54 games for Glory, will not be going anywhere.
“We have offered Shane a new contract and talks are continuing with him and his management,” said the resources tycoon.
“I don’t think he wants to leave us. I feel he wants to be a part of what we’re building at this club and we certainly want to keep him and see him back to his best after serious of injuries which have held him back over the past months.
“He’s been quite unlucky in that regard but hopefully that’s behind him now and we will see him getting back to what he’s best at – scoring goals – between now and the end of the season. That’s what we need as a club.
“His record speaks for itself and he’s still one of the most dangerous strikers in the league.
“We’ve been talking for a couple of weeks now – and we’re expecting to come to an agreement soon.”
On the length of the deal on offer, Sage added: “Everything is up for negotiation but we think he’ll still be a Glory player next year.
“It’s my understanding that he hasn’t spoken to any other clubs yet – I think all he wants to do now is get out there and play regularly after all the setbacks he’s had in recent times.”
The future of caretaker coach Kenny Lowe also remains up in the air, with Sage confirming the club has placed an advertisement seeking a long-term replacement for Alistair Edwards who was sacked in December.
“We always said that would be the case and we have received a lot of CVs,” he added.
“Nothing will be decided until well into March and of course Kenny is in the mix.
“He’s very enthusiastic in the way he goes about the job and he wants to be here for the long haul.”
Despite a season of upheaval, Sage said Glory would qualify for the finals.
It is currently two points out of the play-off spots in eighth place with 21 points. Glory’s next game is Saturday’s visit to dysfunctional Sydney FC.
“We've had to play a lot of kids this year but we’ve significantly strengthened the team in the January transfer window and we have shown we can match it with the top sides,” he added.
“I am certain we'll be there in the finals once again this year – and in those games anything can happen.
“But we’ll have to do it the hard way to get there, because five of our last nine games are on the road and it’s been traditionally tough for us to pick up points when we travel.”
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