The coaches | Crook

If the focus on the new Sydney coach wasn't enough, he’s got the A-League's biggest signing to manage.

In the lead up to season 2012/13, we're looking at the club coaches, their history, their challenges and what they have to do to make this season a success.

Ian Crook, Sydney FC

Another season starts with a new manager at Allianz Stadium and if the focus on Ian Crook wasn't enough, he-s now got the biggest signing in the history of Australian football to take care of.

After failing to coax Graham Arnold down from the Central Coast, Sydney decided to promote from within and Crook-s appointment was greeted with approval, despite some Sky Blues fans hoping for a higher profile coach to take over from Viteslav Lavicka.

The club-s sixth manager in eight seasons, it is clear Sydney need consistency at the top. Crook has extensive knowledge of the local game after coaching in the NSL and as part of Sydney coaching staff for the past two seasons.

Crook has recruited well after a raft of departures that left the Sky Blues looking seriously depleted, signing a good mix of proven performers, young talent and steady fringe players to give his squad some depth and versatility. Do they have the players to match Brisbane Roar or Melbourne Victory, though?

On top of that are a number of imports who should give Sydney much more bite upfront, something they have certainly lacked in recent seasons.

The pressure is always on the Sydney coach to succeed but this season more than ever; a disappointing end to Lavicka-s tenure and the arrival of Alessandro Del Piero means Crook will have to deliver straight away if he-s to meet the expectations of fans and the attention of the media.

History: After a solid playing career with Tottenham and Norwich, Crook made his way to Australia via Japan, and coached the Newcastle Jets in the NSL, eventually joining Sydney as part of Pierre Littbarski-s coaching team for the inaugural Hyundai A-League season.

After also working under Lavicka in recent years, Crook-s knowledge of the club and its issues should stand him in good stead.

Challenges: Has any A-League coach got a bigger challenge in front of him?

Firstly, Crook has to ensure Sydney are a cohesive unit that can take on the likes of Brisbane, Central Coast and Melbourne Victory. That means scoring a lot more goals than Sydney have managed in some time.

Secondly, he has to get the best out of Del Piero. It-s certainly more important that he is able to successfully implement his philosophy and tactics, but Crook can-t dodge the focus on the former Juventus great. If Del Piero finds it hard to integrate, fingers will point at Crook.

Finally, he needs to handle the expectations of a starstruck and fairweather Sydney crowd, and the attention that has just been turned up to 11.

Target Position: Despite the hype around Del Piero no doubt convincing some that a serious title challenge will be mounted, Crook needs to at least achieve a confident finals berth. The A-League is more competitive than ever; we just don-t yet if Sydney are among the best teams.

Final Word: What an opportunity for Crook, and what a job he-s got on his hands. If he does it right, Sydney-s success could be celebrated in parts the A-League has never reached before.

But how will the club react if things don-t go to plan? BDP (Before Del Piero) he might have been given the time to really make the side his own; now, he might not be given that luxury.