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Wollongong Wolves aiming for A-League with Federici as top target

(Getty Images) Source: Getty Images

Wollongong Wolves CEO Chris Papakosmas says the club will attempt to make Socceroo and English Premier League goalkeeper Adam Federici one of its first big signings should it be admitted to an expanded A-League.

The Wolves announced Federici as an ambassador for the club's expansion bid on Tuesday, but Papakosmas said ideally the club wouldn't be stopping there with him.

He said the planets would have to align in terms of when expansion became a reality and where Federici's career stood at that time, but that the Wolves would aim to bring him home as part of a plan to make an immediate impact in the national competition.

"One hundred per cent we would want to do that," Papakosmas told The World Game.

"Adam's a South Coast boy and he'll always be a South Coast boy. He takes great pride in the fact he's from Huskisson. He sings that loudly and proudly. Grass-roots football, particularly in this region, is very important to him.

"It wouldn't surprise me one bit if he'd like to finish off his career by giving something back to the region that started him off.

"We've had quite a few discussions with him about a range of things to do with his playing career and his eventual transitioning to a post-football life and obviously he has still got his commitments with Bournemouth and he's still part of the Socceroos set-up.

"The best goalkeepers can play until they're 40, so he still has a lot of top-level football left in him and I expect we'll be in the A-League well before he's ready to retire.

"He's got options coming out of his ears, mate, but when the times comes if we can put something on the table that interests him, then from a fairytale, romantic point of view I think that would be a perfect way for him to finish his career."

Federici, who previously played in the Premier League and Championship with Reading, has been a part of Bournemouth's squad in the Premier League for the past two seasons.

The 16-time Socceroo turns 33 in January and would be 34 or 35 by the time new expansion teams began competing in the A-League in the 2017-18 season or the following year.

Football Federation Australia is still to make a call on an expansion time-line and release criteria for bid groups to try to meet, but that hasn't stopped potential new A-League clubs from trotting out the star-power in the early jockeying for positions.

The South Melbourne club recently brought Brazilian great Roberto Carlos to Australia to parade him as their potential A-League coach. Before that former "Golden Generation" Socceroo Vince Grella announced his support for the bid from Melbourne's south-east.

Federici's involvement is the latest in that trend and Papakosmas, who is bullish about saying when, rather than if, the Wolves are in the A-League, asserted that there was plenty of interest in the Wolves expansion bid from current A-League players.

"Regardless of when FFA rolls out the criteria and what the time-line is, our club will have very competitive A-League and W-League teams from the very beginning," he said.

"It's no exaggeration to say that on a weekly basis, particularly in the last four weeks, we've had regular contact from A-League players directly, or from players’ managers and representatives, letting us know they're not just available, they're interested.

"I'm talking about 'name' players from the Illawarra and South Coast region who are very keen to come home. They've thrown their hat in the ring to say as soon as we've got a start in the A-League, as soon as we're in, they're back."