United rush Korean midfielder into side

January 14, 2011
By Darren Cartwright

Gold Coast United are leaving nothing to chance in the lead-up to the A-League finals and will rush Korean midfielder Sung-Kil Kim into the side for Wednesday night's clash with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park.

Kim will be the second major import to sign with United in recent weeks after they recruited German Peter Perchtold on a short-term contract with the view that he may also play next season.

Coach Miron Bleiberg said the pair was hand picked to cover the losses of midfielder Jason Culina, who is on Australian duty for the Asian Cup, Brazilian import Robson, who has a season threatening hamstring injury, and James Brown who has constantly battled injuries.

Kim is no stranger to United, having trialled for a spot on their roster before the start of the season, but was overlooked because they had sufficient midfield numbers.

"We had a Korean guy train with us in the pre-season," Bleiberg said.

"He was good, but I did not want to waste a visa spot on him because we had enough midfielders.

"Due to the circumstances, Jason is out, Robson is out and James Brown is out, we don't have a playmaker, and he was a playmaker.

"We rushed him and he will come in as an injury replacement for Robson.

"He's not a big name in Korea but he is a good player. But if he was not a visa player I would have signed him."

If both Kim and Perchtold suit up against the Heart, it will be three fresh and high profile faces in United's line-up in less than a week after the successful return of gun striker Shane Smelz in the easy 4-0 win over competition minnows North Queensland Fury on Friday night.

Last year's A-League golden boot winner scored United's third goal and his first for the match in the 52nd minute after earlier setting up the second of Bruce Djite's brace.

Bleiberg explained why he subbed-off Djite in the 58th minute and then Smelz in the 70th minute despite the pair dominating the front half.

"We have another game on Wednesday so that's why I took both of them off," Bleiberg said.

"It was precautionary. If we didn't have the Wednesday game I may go for the killer."

Both United and the Heart have a lot hanging on the result of Wednesday night's match.

United need to win to stay in the hunt for second place, while the Heart are one spot out of the top six, yet within two points of fifth placed Melbourne Victory.