Gnjidic, City in talks for next year’s top job

Ballarat City coach Danny Gnjidic says he and the club with go through the necessary processes before committing to next season.

Gnjidic, who joined City this season, led a Ballarat outfit that showed signs of improvement despite a seventh position ladder finish. Gnjidic told The Courier the 2017 campaign was a positive one, evidenced by its impressive mid-season form which saw it occupy fourth spot for a number of weeks.

However, Gnjidic said he and the club would sit down and discuss how it moves forward. He did not anticipate there would be any reason for the two parties to part ways but felt it was best to thoroughly work through the decision.

“We’ve got to sit down and we’ve got to review the season and look ahead and decide if this is a relationship that is going to suit both parties. There’s nothing to suggest that it won’t, but we need to have that discussion,” Gnjidic said.

Danny Gnjidic

Danny Gnjidic

“It’s really important for me that on the field and off the field...we’re all on the same page.

“Sometimes these things move slowly, and maybe slower than some people would like, but my job is to look after the players.”

Gnjidic threw his support behind the direction the club and Ballarat as a whole was taking in the regional soccer landscape, declaring Ballarat “the best” of all regional clubs. Ballarat City will continue to play a key role in that development.

POSSIBLE RETURN: Courtney Austin returned to England after seven games with City, the club is hopeful he will return next year. Picture: Kate Healy.

POSSIBLE RETURN: Courtney Austin returned to England after seven games with City, the club is hopeful he will return next year. Picture: Kate Healy.

“Given my experience in the division, Ballarat has always been, and proved to me, that it is the best of the regional clubs in dealing with the challenges that all regional clubs face.

“Our consistent performances on the field with the senior team suggests that, our juniors are progressing really well, our kids get picked for state teams.

“The football culture in Ballarat is positive, but it can get better, and the club plays a key role in that.”

Meanwhile, Gnjidic said the club was “hopeful” it would regain the services of English striker Courtney Austin next season.

Austin returned home for family reasons after seven games with City, but his class up front would be crucial for Ballarat’s aspirations to rise up the ladder.

“He’s doing what he needs to be doing back in the UK.

“He’s indicated that he’s got a desire to come back. We’re hopeful that that will transpire...at his best he’s a potential 15-20 goal forward in this competition.

“His opportunities on a professional basis are a lot better over there than they are here. 

“Our real focus in the off-season is retaining the group and adding a little bit of class, which is where we were really lacking.”