The Sky Blues coach believes the length of the A-League season is detrimental to the competition, and has called for another round to be played
Sydney FC coach Ian Crook has re-ignited the debate over the length of the A-League season, calling on the FFA to increase the number of games for the sake of the competition and player development.
Speaking at the club's first day of pre-season training on Monday, Crook said the long off-season made it extremely difficult for coaches and players to maintain their standards with such a lengthy break.
The next A-league season does not begin until the first weekend of October, almost six months since Brisbane Roar's grand final triumph over Perth Glory.
Crook said the league should look at bringing in an extra round of games, increasing the season from 27 matches to 36.
"The plain facts are as a coach and a group of players you don't want to have to the period off that you're having now," Crook told reporters on Monday.
"Is there a perfect way, no, but the clear facts are we can't continue to go on with a huge off-season that we do.
"If the game is going to want to move forward, it needs to be broadened.
"Whether that's in another round of games - for me it would be the fairer way, to play each side twice away and twice at home.
"We can't continue to try and develop players when we're playing six months of the year, it just doesn't work.
"If we play longer through the year then we'll develop players."
While more matches would help with the progression of younger players, Crook said it was just as vital with the older ones to keep them in the game.
"As a player I couldn't have coped with this amount of time off. The older you get, [you] need to keep ticking over," he said.
"It's having a purpose to keep going.
"People talk about pre-season games but you can have as many as you like but having a league game is a purpose.
"You may see older players retire earlier.
"There needs to be something done to elongate it."
Sydney midfielder Nick Carle said he would also like to see a fourth round added to the season to bring it into line with other leagues around the world.
"I know we'd have to interfere with different seasons and different codes but they're stand alone codes, they have their own supporters," he said.
"If we can get our own supporters I can't see a reason why we can't have a fourth round.
"It would make it a 36-game season, plus semis and finals. It makes it more like a full year, European season and keeps you fitter for a longer period of time.
"And players who want to make national teams, it's such a long break it affects your national team chances."
Crook said he had almost finalised his squad for next season, with only one or two spots open but not for any 'household names'
New striker Kruno Lovrek flies in on Wednesday to join the side, while young Panamanian recruit Yairo Yau is still awaiting a work visa.