Birmingham City exit for Lazaridis

The chances of Qantas Socceroo star Stan Lazaridis appearing in next season’s Hyundai A-League have increased after he was today released by Birmingham City, following the club’s relegation to England’s Championship league.

The chances of Qantas Socceroo star Stan Lazaridis appearing in next season-s Hyundai A-League have increased after he was today released by Birmingham City, following the club-s relegation to England-s Championship league.

Lazaridis was one of eight out of contract players to be shown the door, with the left-sided defender having indicated that a return to Australia was very possible if he did not remain at Birmingham.

The former West Ham star has endured a frustrating last month with the club, sitting on the sidelines, this despite being fully fit. It-s thought a clause in his contract was the reason for his non-appearances towards the end of the season.

Despite his non-activity for Birmingham, Lazaridis is still considered a certainty in to be named by Guus Hiddink in Australia-s World Cup squad.

A number of Hyundai A-League clubs have said they would love to have Lazaridis for next season, with Adelaide, where he played with West Adelaide and Perth, his home town, the likely favourites if he was to return. Newcastle-s new incoming coach Nick Theodorakopoulos has also expressed his desire for Lazaridis- signature.

Other players to be told by manager Steve Bruce they are no longer required at Birmingham are Mario Melchiot, Jiri Jarosik, Nicky Butt, Chris Sutton, Jamie Clapham, and Nico Vaesen.

Meanwhile it appears as though most of Australia-s stars got through the weekend unscathed, with the English Premier League finishing its season.

Craig Moore played another full game for Newcastle United, as they beat Chelsea 1-0; Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton both played near full games in Blackburn Rovers 2-0 win against Manchester City; Harry Kewell recovered from his groin injury to play a full game for Liverpool in its 3-1 win at Portsmouth, while none of Australia-s three players at Middlesbrough saw game time, with recently announced post-World Cup England manager Steve McClaren not risking any players for Boro-s clash with Seville in the UEFA Cup final on Wednesday night. Mark Schwarzer is set to play in the final with a mask on his face, after returning to training late last week. He suffered a fractured cheekbone in Boro-s FA Cup semi final defeat against West Ham two weeks ago.

In Italy, Marco Bresciano was replaced at half time, while Vince Grella played a full game, as Parma lost to Zeljko Kalac-s AC Milan 3-2 at home, while in Spain, John Aloisi-s Alaves must win its last game of the season to have any hope of avoiding relegation, after suffering a 3-0 loss away at Real Zaragoza.

Any chance of Tony Popovic and his Crystal Palace team going straight back up to the Premier League has virtually vanished after losing 3-0 at home in the first leg of their play-off against Watford. The return leg is in Watford tonight.

In Switzerland, FC Basel needs 1 point from its final two games, ironically against the two teams closest to them on the table, to win yet another Swiss title. On the weekend, FC Basel, with Scott Chipperfield replaced at half time and Mile Sterjovski coming on in the 67th minute, won 4-0 away at Schaffhausen, to keep them 3 clear of FC Zurich, who must win next week when they clash, to keep the title race alive. Also in Switzerland, Ljubo Milicevic played a full game as FC Thun lost to Young Boys.

In Scotland, Qantas Socceroo hopeful Scott McDonald did not play for Motherwell, whose manager Terry Butcher is heading for Australia to hold talks with Sydney FC, while Daniel McBreen ended his season on a high note scoring the winner as Falkirk won 1-0 at Livingston.

In Holland, it was disappointment all round for Jason Culina and national team boss Guus Hiddink, as PSV lost the Dutch Cup final to Ajax. Culina remained on the bench for the match, in what was Hiddink-s last match in charge of PSV.

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