The 19-year old, who netted a brace in the Sky Blues' 4-2 Preliminary Final win over the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night, is out of contract at the end of the season and there are rumours that the Mariners want o bring him back to the Central Coast but Sky Blues' vice-chairman Scott Barlow said the club is keen to keep him around.
''We're interested in retaining him and we're hoping to progress the talks over the coming days and weeks,'' said Barlow. '''Vitja' [coach Vitezslav Lavicka] has had some initial discussions, and believes he's a player who's got potential and room for growth.''
Payne, who is likely to start in Saturday's Grand Final against the Melbourne Victory following the hamstring injury to John Aloisi, admitted he was feeling a bit nervous about what might happen with his playing future.
''It's hard training and playing without knowing what the future is, so I am getting a bit toey, actually,'' Payne said. ''I haven't been offered anything, I'm still waiting for the club to come up with something.
''You hope something will come out of it when you train hard and play, but we'll have to wait and see.''