Steve Ugarkovic and Bernie Ibini were front and centre at Newcastle Jets training on Monday and as far as chief executive Lawrie McKinna is concerned any uncertainty over the future of the want-away stars is "done and dusted".
Ugarkovic and Ibini are both contracted for the upcoming A-League season, but had sought releases after the defection of coach Carl Robinson to Western Sydney and the uncertainty over the ownership of the club.
"The two boys were at training this morning," McKinna said. "They are good professionals and I expected them to be there. I spoke to both players and the club has made its position clear so I don't see why there is any need for more chat. It's done and dusted.
"They are contracted until the end of the season and we are expecting them to fulfill their contracts. It is as simple as that. I have spoken to the PFA (players union) and the PFA is on our side. They fight for the best conditions possible for the players and players have to adhere to their contracts.
"If you are an employee, turn up for work. Carl and [assistant coach] Kenny Miller have gone which isn't perfect but you just turn up for work. When did employees start dictating what happens at the top end? Turn up and do your work and play football. That's what you are employed to do.
"We have done everything right. The boys have been paid in full. There are no breaches of contract."
Since the end of last season, the Jets have loaned out or sold Dimi Petratos, James Donachie, Matt Millar and Nick Fitzgerald. Abdiel Arroyo, Wes Hoolahan and Joe Ledley were not re-signed.
Those decisions were made taking into a account the reduction of the salary cap by a third to $2.1 million for the new A-League campaign and the club's financial situation as it awaits confirmation of a new owner.
"The decisions we have made as a club over the last so many months have been to make sure we are still operating," McKinna said. "We could have pulled the club months ago, moved the licence elsewhere as I was asked to do by four different parties. We weren't interested in that. We are interested in the club being here and starting next season with the strongest squad possible. That is with Steve Ugarkovic and Bernie Ibini in that squad. We see Stevie and Bernie as two of our higher profile, better players".
In a further development, the Jets have given Joe Champness permission to train with rivals Brisbane and are considering a loan deal with the Roar.
The silken-skilled winger agreed to a two-year extension with the Jets before jetting off to Los Angeles 14-months ago to pursue a hip-hop career but now wants to link with his home-town club.
"Joey is back at home but he has not played for a year and a half," McKinna said. "We have given him permission to train with Brisbane and there is the possibility of a loan deal for a season."
McKinna said the Jets would consider an approach from an overseas club for Ugarkovic or Ibini but were not in a position to release either player without compensation.
"If a good offer came in, we would consider it," he said. "Stevie had a great season last season and we never had any offers.
"Because we don't have a coach, we don't have a [new] owner, bringing in players right now is really hard. How can we rebuild if we let them go now? If it is two months down the track and we could bring in a few players, you might look at things different.
"At the moment, under our circumstances, we can't look at it. Where are we going to look for players?"
McKinna is hopeful both the ownership and the appointment of new coach will be finalised in a month.
"The quicker it is resolved the better for everyone," he said. "It gives the players security and shows things are progressing, things are moving forward. Then we can start bringing in players and finalising the squad.
"In a month's time, I would love to be in Byron Bay. I don't drink but I might start drinking after the past few weeks. I am hoping in the next four weeks that everything would be settled at the club."
McKinna said the new owner would have the final say but confirmed the successful candidate would "definitely not be a foreign coach".
"It is too hard to get the in, especially if they have a family," he said.
The successful tacticician will have at least two players to fill on the roster and a fair chunk of money to spend.
"We have 16 players on the books depending what happens with Matty Millar at Shrewsbury Town," McKinna said. "If he does very well we get a transfer fee for him in January. They need to notify us by December 1 if they want to buy him.
"At the moment we have 16 players and are below the salary cap floor of $1.7 million.
"We need to bring in two to fulfill our obligations. Ideally we want to bring in two to four players.
"With new investors, you would hope we will have a little bit more to spend. We will be looking at decent players to come in."
Two players, Jai Seldon (Canberra) and Japanese-born Wollongong Wolves attacker Takeru Okada have started a trial.
"There are no shortage of people wanting to come to the club," McKinna said.
McKinna also confirmed that pre-season friendlies had been locked in with four A-League clubs.
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