Culina excited to join team

After missing his side's recent 5-0 demolition of New Caledonia, Jason Culina says he is excited to join his Gold Coast United team-mates in Asia ahead of Tuesday night's friendly match against Singapore's under-23 national team.

After missing his side's recent 5-0 demolition of New Caledonia, Jason Culina says he is excited to join his Gold Coast United team-mates in Asia ahead of Tuesday night's friendly match against Singapore's under-23 national team.

The Qantas Socceroos midfielder, who will skipper the Gold Coast in their first season in the Hyundai A-League, said he wanted to use the six-day trip to get to know his team-mates.

"I've been waiting for a few months now to get into training with the boys here at United so I'm really looking forward to getting over to Singapore and getting started," he said.

"For me this trip is about getting to know all the other boys in the squad and having a run. The squad has been together for a while now so I'm very keen to be with them all and join in with the group - that's the most important thing for me at the moment."

Culina is expected to play only a minor part in the games against Singapore and Hong Kong, but has his eyes set on playing a full 90 minutes in his first match on home soil - the much-anticipated match against English Premier League side Fulham at Skilled Park next Wednesday.

"It's always great to play in games against top opposition and it gives you a chance to see where you fit in the scheme of things." Culina said.

"So far all the friendlies and trial games have been against local opposition and even with the tour to New Caledonia and Asia, the real test for us will be when we play Fulham next week."

Culina's Qantas Socceroos team-mate, goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, will line up for Fulham, and the United captain said he is desperate to score against his close mate.

"I'll be looking to embarrass Mark," the 28-year-old said.

Gold Coast vice-captain Michael Thwaite said the match against Fulham, which finished seventh in last season's English Premier League and secured qualification into the new Europa League, would be United's first test in a competitive sense.

"They have a lot of talented players and with Mark Schwarzer in goal for them it's going to make it very tough for us," he said.

"It'll be a great test for us to see where we are at with our own preparation for the Hyundai A-League and obviously for the fans it will be a great spectacle."