Ex-Socceroos skipper’s bittersweet promotion twist
MILE Jedinak faces the likelihood of being shown the door at Aston Villa having helped them secure promotion back into the Premier League.
The former Socceroos skipper was an unused substitute in Villa's 2-1 victory over Derby in Tuesday morning's (AEST) Championship promotion playoff final, but scored a crucial penalty in the semi-final shootout last week.
It's been a largely frustrating campaign for the 34-year-old midfielder, who has been limited to just 18 appearances - 12 of them off the bench.
And while the veteran has endeared himself to fans and won plaudits for his impact and influence around the dressing room, he's now out of contract and facing an anxious wait over his future.
Given his Premier League experience - spending seasons six seasons (four in the top flight) with Crystal Palace before joining Villa in 2016 - Jedinak may yet earn an extension and has expressed his desire to play in the top flight again.
"I haven't spoken to anyone about next season (yet) but it would be awesome to have that experience again,'' Jedinak said.
"I'd be silly to say no if that opportunity presented itself again. I'd love it and I'd love for (my) kids to get to see me experience it - they're very keen footballers."
However the writing may be on the wall for some time that he's not part of Dean Smith's long-term plans.
Jedinak - a favourite of former manager Steve Bruce - has managed just two appearances since January. Smith earlier in the year also dropped an ominous hint he'd be looking to reduce the average age of the squad.
"You walk into a job and you inherit players," he said. "My job as a head coach is to help make those players better.
"If I feel there is no development in them, then I think it is time to move them on and we bring other players in.
"That is just the way the industry works."
A Birmingham Mail report in March branded Jedinak "a poster boy for the previous regime" at Villa.
"From the moment Smith replaced Bruce in the Villa Park dugout in October, Jedinak's days were numbered," the report said.
"The manager has two recruitment plans for the summer - one for if Villa go up and one for if they stay down.
"It's fair to say Jedinak is not included in either of them."
Jedinak has been linked with the incoming A-League side Macarthur FC but given the Sydney side won't enter the competition until next year, he'll likely pursue another season in Europe before returning to Australia.