United playing hardball with Roar striker
WESTERN United is refusing to budge in its resolve to stop Brisbane Roar striker Scott McDonald playing against the side this season, including in a potential finals clash.
McDonald left United last month with six months of his contract remaining to join the Roar on an 18-month deal.
As part of the conditions of McDonald's early release, United have stopped the former Socceroos marksman from lining up for the Roar when the teams meet in Ballarat on Sunday.
Brisbane coach Robbie Fowler insisted it was a "goodwill gesture" from the Roar to not play McDonald on Sunday, but said it was only for this game.
United chief executive Chris Pehlivanis last night told The Courier-Mail that if the teams met again during the finals, his club would again stop McDonald from playing.
"I negotiated it, so that for this season, McDonald won't play against us," Pehlivanis said.
"This weekend is the last time we play them (in the home-and-away season), but if we meet again in the finals, it'll be the same situation.
"He can play against us next season but not this season because he was contracted to us until the end of this season, but he wanted to break the contract and left.
"We didn't get anything in return from him going, so why should we let him play against us? It doesn't make sense to let him do that."
Both sides remain in contention to make the top six, with the Roar sixth and United seventh heading into Sunday's clash at Mars Stadium.
Pehlivanis' stance will add further spice to the battle, with United coach Mark Rudan making no apologies for his December spat with Fowler and Roar chief executive David Pourre.
Rudan was upset Fowler did not shake his hand after United's 2-0 win over the Roar two months ago at Suncorp Stadium, saying at the time the Liverpool legend needed to "respect the opposition coach".
Fowler didn't take a backward step, accusing Rudan of starting a post-match argument with Pourre and using the words "effing disgrace".
Pourre said Rudan made a "beeline" for him to "instigate his foul language".
Rudan last night said he had no issues with Fowler or Pourre, but wasn't about to say sorry for the incident.
"Robbie's a competitor and so am I," he said.
"In hindsight, we both probably could have done things a little bit differently.
"It was a big game for us and a big win for us, and I didn't do anything differently in terms of what I normally do with shaking the hands of everybody on my bench and then going over to the opposing coach.
"I'm clear in my conscience about what happened. I'm also not a guy that holds grudges."
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