Brisbane Roar are set to lose star defender Macaulay Gillesphey after a breakdown in contract negotiations between the Englishman and the three-time A-League champions.
The club’s reigning player of the year has been a rock in the Roar’s defence alongside skipper and fellow import Tom Aldred since joining Brisbane in 2019 from English fourth-tier outfit Carlisle United.
But while Aldred signed a three-year contract extension in February, Gillesphey is set to move on at the end of the season due to his disappointment with the Roar’s attempts to keep him.
At least two rival A-League clubs have tabled better offers for Gillesphey’s services, as have teams in England, Scotland and Germany.
The 25-year-old left-footer’s likely departure will further rock a Roar side who have already lost former Socceroos striker Scott McDonald.
McDonald’s exit has come at the wrong time for the Roar, whose depth will be tested by a backlog of matches in the closing stages of the A-League season.
With the entire A-League campaign, including finals, needing to be completed by June 21 due to the 2021 AFC Champions League schedule, the Roar still have 11 regular season matches remaining.
That’s the most of any A-League club, a handful of whom have already played four more matches than Brisbane.
The Roar announced McDonald’s departure late on Saturday, with the veteran marksman’s relationship with Brisbane coach Warren Moon having soured in recent months.
It’s understood McDonald signed a non-disclosure agreement with the Roar. The agreement prevents him from commenting on his fallout with Moon.
The former Celtic and Middlesbrough forward’s experience would have come in handy for a Roar side fighting to finish in the top six.
The Roar’s cause also won’t be helped by the absence of Aldred for at least a fortnight with a hamstring injury.
“Tom unfortunately tweaked his tendon,” Moon said.
“It’s not too bad but I think he’ll be out for a couple of weeks at this stage.”
Aldred won’t be the only defensive mainstay missing on Wednesday night when the Roar meet the Central Coast Mariners, with left back Corey Brown suspended after an accumulation of yellow cards.
Despite the absentees, star Roar midfielder Jay O’Shea is confident Brisbane can chalk up a third successive win.
“There’s so many points at stake now in the next few weeks, and if you can pick up some wins along the way you can really start shooting up the table, and that’s what we plan to do,” O’Shea said.
“It’ll be a tough task for us (against the Mariners) but one that we’re looking forward to.”
Irishman O’Shea said playing in England for several years had him prepared for the Roar’s busy upcoming run of matches.
“In England you play a lot of games midweek, so it’ll be something that I’ll be used to and hopefully we can use the squad to its full potential in the next few weeks,” he said.
The Mariners are backing up from a 2-2 weekend draw against reigning champions Sydney FC.
Former Roar defender Ruon Tongyik returns to the Mariners squad on Wednesday night after missing the draw with the Sky Blues through suspension.