Sunday, June 11, 2006

Michael Baird back in Australia?

QUEENSLAND Roar has sent out an SOS to former firebrand Michael Baird as its search for an impact striker for their upcoming A-League season continues.

Baird, 22, is signed with newly promoted Romanian first-division outfit Universitatea Craiova after leaving the Roar at the close of their inaugural season.

Prior to his exit he produced a lukewarm A-League performance that included just six goals in 20 games.

He was famously booed off the pitch by home-ground fans at Suncorp Stadium following a 3-1 loss to Melbourne that effectively ended the club's 2005 finals hopes.

But Roar coach Miron Bleiberg has fired off an email in an effort to lure Baird back to his former A-League club.

"He has improved a lot as a player in Romania from what I have heard, and I think he would provide some of the explosiveness that we need," Bleiberg said.

"I haven't heard back from him yet. He has three more years left on his contract (in Romania) but maybe he wants to come back."

Known as much for his outspoken personality as his on-field prowess, Baird has thrived in Romania where he has become a crowd favourite among for Universitatea faithful.

Just 12 weeks into his four-year deal with the club, Baird has already picked up seven goals, two man-of-the-match awards and is widely credited on the club's official fansite as the catalyst for the side's promotion to the first division for the 2006-07 season.

He fared far better than his former Roar teammate Karl Dodd who was sacked from the club after just one month into his five-year contract.

Bleiberg has three vacancies on his roster including one for an overseas striker, a position he could keep aside for Baird.

He dismissed any suggestion Baird left the club on bad terms and would be welcomed back to Queensland with open arms.

"Of course he would be welcome back here. There is no bad blood between Michael and the club at all," the coach said.

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