Goalkeeping is in the blood, and Alastair Bray is hopeful of continuing his career at Melbourne Heart before considering a move abroad
Promising goalkeeper Alastair Bray says he is happy to spurn opportunities overseas as he targets a spot as Melbourne Heart's No.2 for next season.
Bray, who is now impressing between the posts for Victorian Premier League outfit Bentleigh Greens, told Goal Australia he has had several chances to go on trial in England and in Asia, with Premier League club Aston Villa and lower-league outfits Wolves, Leicester and Bristol City all showing an interest.
The 20-year-old's grandfather Roy MacLaren served as Villa's assistant manager in the 1980s, while his uncle Bruce MacLaren had a brief stint as a goalkeeper with the 1982 European champions.
However, Bray has made it clear that his main priority is to secure a contract with Heart ahead of the 2013-2014 campaign. Andrew Redmayne is the club's established No.1 after the retirement of Clint Bolton, with Heart football operations manager John Didulica telling Goal Australia on Monday the search for a back-up was ongoing and Bray was under consideration.
"I'm aware there have been opportunities in England and Japan, but at the moment, my aim is to establish myself in the A-League with Melbourne Heart," the Australia youth international said.
"It is good to be offered with options overseas, but I really want to progress with my career in Australia first."
Bray first made inroads at Heart when he featured in the National Youth League in the 2011-12 season, and trained regularly with Redmayne and Bolton last campaign.
"It was a great experience to learn under the two goalkeepers and I really picked up a lot of new things from them," he said.
"It was good exposure for me to train in the first-team environment and under the coaching staff at Heart."
Heart's National Youth League player of the year, Bray was particularly impressed by the coaching staff's dedication and patience with their talented crop of youngsters.
"During training, coach John Aloisi will pull us aside and explain to us on what we need to do," Bray said.
"The coaches there are really thorough and I had a good relationship with them."
"Heart have a very good youth team and they have already promoted two youth players [Jeremy Walker and Sam Mitchinson] into the senior team."
"I'm just taking things slow for now and concentrating on Bentleigh Greens."
After his youth contract expired at Heart, Bray promptly joined the Greens in his bid to continue his fledgling football career.
The lanky custodian made an immediate impact, ousting veteran Scottish goalkeeper Stuart Webster from of the starting line-up.
"Obviously, Stuart Webster is well-regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the VPL, but I have kept my place so far and I aim to keep playing well," Bray said.
"The aim over the next couple of years is to establish myself in the A-League and hopefully with Melbourne Heart.
"The ultimate would be to play overseas in Europe but for now, I'm more than happy to stay and improve on my game in Australia."