New Adelaide United striker Eli Babalj says he’s feeling right at home in South Australia as he readies himself for the new Hyundai A-League season with the Reds.
Eli Babalj, who agreed to join the club on a season-long loan in July, says he took no time in settling into life in Adelaide, explaining his new teammates made his transition into South Australia very smooth.
“I’ve settled in well here in Adelaide,” Babalj said.
“It’s a really nice city and everyone at the club have been very welcoming. I feel really at home and like I’ve been here a lot longer than a few weeks.
“The atmosphere around the club is really positive and my teammates are great to work with.
“They’re a good group of boys and training has been good and enjoyable and I’m really looking forward to the start of the season.
“There’s still a long way to go (until the new season kicks-off), but so far it’s been really good.”
With the new Hyundai A-League 2015/16 season still over a month away, the Reds pre-season preparations are at one of their most critical points with the squad desperate to gain match fitness as quickly as possible.
And with Babalj picking up invaluable pre-season match fitness in Darwin a couple of weeks ago, not to mention again earlier this week against Sydney FC in the Westfield FFA Cup, United’s new No. 19 also mentioned how beneficial the Reds’ training sessions have been.
Nevertheless, Babalj credits the support from fans as being a defining factor in ensuring United’s squad gives every last ounce of energy during in-game moments of adversity, just like what was needed most recently against Sydney in extra-time.
“As footballers, fans are always very important to us,” Babalj explained. “The game last week against Sydney FC (in the FFA Cup) showed how well they can spur us on.
“Their encouragement and the volume of their support puts pressure on our opposition and helps us to dig deep and gives us a lift when we hear them.
“It was much better to beat Sydney in extra-time than on penalties because penalties are 50/50. It was a big relief.
“Our team was pretty successful last season, but we’ve now added to the team and I think we have greater depth in our squad this season.
“I personally believe we’ll be up there challenging (for the Hyundai A-League Championship) like last year, so it would be great if we had everyone renew their devotion with the club through membership.
“It’s always nice to see Coopers Stadium filled with people and we can feel the atmosphere and it always helps us and gives us a buzz.”
On Tuesday evening, the Westfield FFA Cup draw took place, with the Reds drawing current Hyundai A-League Champions, Melbourne Victory, away form home as our quarter-final opponents.
It will be the first time the two sides meet in the cup competition, and the first time the Hyundai A-League Champions will face the reigning Westfield FFA Cup Winners in a competitive fixture.