PERTH Glory coach Alistair Edwards concedes a rift has opened up between himself and skipper Jacob Burns, with reports suggesting it is impossible for both men to stay at the club.
A dressing room bust-up following Perth’s 2-0 loss to Victory on Friday was reportedly sparked when the veteran player failed to see game time after his return from a two-week suspension.
Edwards, keen to push ahead with Glory’s youth policy, said he could not guarantee the 35-year-old midfield enforcer would play for the Perth outfit again.
“That’s something that depends on performance and attitude going forward,” Edwards told reporters. “We hope so.”
Friday night’s flashpoint between the coach and senior members of the squad lasted more than an hour with defender Michael Thwaite reportedly expressing his disgust at the loss by saying 'that's a f...ing disgrace'.
Burns allegedly said the only way to get a place in the first team is to 'change his name to Edwards', a reference to the Glory coach selecting his son Ryan Edwards in the starting XI.
After missing the mandatory post match media interview, Edwards spoke to journalists at Perth Airport on Saturday afternoon to explain the fall-out.
“I think there’s definitely a rift between Jacob Burns and myself – that’s for sure,” Edwards told waiting media which was shown on Fox Sports.
“It stems from the fact that – we had a discussion a few weeks ago about his future at the club and what’s happening and I couldn’t give him any assurances.
"Since then it’s been a little bit testy the relationship and I think because he wasn’t reintroduced into the team after winning last weekend, it’s sort of caused a bit of a problem.
“The situation at the moment is that we came off a very very good win last week, 4-2 against Wellington Phoenix and the coaching staff decided that we’d like to go along in the (same way) going forward, and unfortunately that didn’t include Jacob and he didn’t take it that well.”
Tensions are simmering over the inclusion of Edwards’ two sons in the squad – Cameron 21 and Ryan 20 – but the coach dismissed suggestions of favouritism.
“Not at all,” he said, defending his youth-focused line-up.
“If you look at the players we’ve got playing – Riley Woodcock is a youth international, Matty Davies – youth international, Ryan’s a youth international, Cameron’s a youth international, Jamie Maclaren’s a youth international.”
Edwards is said to have the complete backing of his coaching staff but according to Perth Now, Glory owner Tony Sage has stopped short of giving him his full support and is awaiting a briefing from the club’s CEO, Jason Brewer.
"I can't say that until I know all the facts and I don't know what was said in the dressing room," Sage said.
Brewer met separately with the coaching staff and players.
More to follow...