|By JOHN GRECO
They have a reputation for being the A-League's transit lounge for coaches, but Sydney FC are hopeful the full-time appointment of Frank Farina will spark a period of stability for the club.
After helping save the Sky Blues' season from oblivion, Farina was rewarded with a new two-year deal on Thursday that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
Farina becomes Sydney FC's seventh head coach in eight years of the A-League, following on from Pierre Littbarski, Terry Butcher, Branko Culina, John Kosmina, Vitezslav Lavicka and Ian Crook.
Since taking over from Crook in late November, Farina has taken Sydney FC from the bottom of the ladder into the top six with just four losses from 12 games in charge.
But the challenge for the former Australia boss will be to continue the positive results over a long period - something most of the coaches at Sydney have failed to do.
"We've had a number of coaches in our eight seasons but we're confident that Frank can give us some real stability now," Sydney FC chairman Scott Barlow said.
"Frank has done an outstanding job under tough circumstances since he arrived at the club three months ago and we believe he can continue to take the team forward into next season and beyond.
"It's important for the club and hopefully it's a start of a real period of real stability.
"With seven games remaining in the regular season, we are confident that under Frank's guidance, we can finish the season strongly and qualify for the finals."
Farina admitted he had almost given up hope of coaching in the A-League again following his controversial sacking from Brisbane in 2009 over a drink-driving indiscretion.
He said Sydney had given him a "football lifeline" when they summoned him to resurrect their season three months ago and feels his experiences over the last few years have made him a better coach.
"If you don't evolve as a manager or coach, that's when it's time to finish up," Farina said on Thursday.
"It's just like a player. I've always said to players to always remain humble, the day you stop learning is the day you should give it away.
"It's the same for a coach. I think I've learned valuable lessons from mistakes and you have to do that.
"I think I've evolved and hopefully in the next two-and-a-bit years with Sydney I can show that."
The 48-year- old believes living up to the huge expectation that comes with being at Sydney FC will be his biggest challenge, but is confident the club can realise those standards.
Farina also refused to rule out making a play for Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, who appears headed to the A-League after he was dumped by United Arab Emirates side Al Wasl in January.
While Melbourne Heart appear favourites for Neill's signature, Sydney FC, who have had defensive problems all season, could be interested in bringing Neill to the club.
"No club, including us, would rule out the Socceroos captain," Farina said.
"We haven't ruled it out put it that way but we haven't had any discussions yet."Sydney FC continue their push for a finals berth when they host Adelaide at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
In other news, former Sydney FC defender Iain Fyfe has signed a new two-year deal at Adelaide United, tying him to the club until the end of the 2014-15 season.