Western United’s inaugural A-League campaign has continued to take shape with more signings announced on Monday morning, while their would-be coach has confirmed his departure from Wellington Phoenix.
Central Coast Mariners winger Connor Pain and Melbourne City young gun Josh Cavallo have been formally unveiled by United, who will enter the competition at the start of the 2019-20 season.
Mariners defender Jonathan Aspro meanwhile has been confirmed as departing the Mariners for United, though no confirmation has arrived from the club that will initially base itself in Geelong before shifting to a purpose-built home in Tarneit.
The pair make up United’s ninth and 10th signings.
“The Central Coast has become a second home for me over the past three seasons but the time has come for me to explore another avenue and it’s certainly a difficult place to leave, I have so many fond memories of my time here both on and off the pitch,” Pain, a Victorian, said.
United have already signed Panagiotis Kone, Aaron Calver, Connor Chapman, Dylan Pierias, Josh Risdon, Seb Pasquali, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos and Valentino Yuel.
Meanwhile, Mark Rudan – the man hotly pursued and subsequently linked with the inaugural United post – has confirmed he will not be returning to Wellington Phoenix next season.
Rudan, who has led the Nix into the top six in his first and only season there, will move back to Australia in order to be closer to his Sydney-based family.
Former Sydney United coach Rudan has been in United’s sights for some time and he will not return to Wellington to see out the second year of his contract with the Phoenix.
Rudan described his decision to leave Wellington as one of the most difficult he has had to make.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in my career. I came here wanting a project I could sink my teeth into and really make a difference to our sport,” Rudan said.
“As I’ve made mention previously, family is up most of importance to me. I am a husband and a father first and a football coach second.
“The past few weeks I have worked closely with the club trying to find a solution but ultimately it was something that could not be resolved.
Under Rudan’s tutelage, the Nix sit fifth on the table and will play finals.
It is expected Rudan will lead United’s coaching staff comprising John Hutchinson and John Anastasiadis.