Deadly Danny deceives

He's six foot one with a strong physique and a passion for physical fitness, but Danny Allsopp does not fit the mould of your typical target man.

He's six foot one with a strong physique and a passion for physical fitness, but Danny Allsopp does not fit the mould of your typical target man.

Appearances can be deceiving in the world of football and while Allsopp has all the physical attributes to make him a genuine centre forward, the 30-year-old Melbourne Victory striker is happy to continue re-inventing himself every year.

Perhaps Allsopp has suffered in comparison to his strike partner Archie Thompson. Thompson is small, nimble, fast and skilful; perhaps the most skilful player to have graced the Hyundai A-League in its short time in existence.

Allsopp has played the foil very well in the most enduring and successful strike partnership in the league. He not only feeds of Archie but also used his enormous engine to get himself in positions to score. And score he has with 22 A-League goals coming into this season. But while he may be the big man in that duo, he doesn't see himself as a natural target player.

"I've always thought of myself as a little bit of everything. I'm not your typical target man, who just holds the ball up and things like that. It's not really my game. Everyone has to do that sometimes. I don't mind, and I work hard. I think there is more to me than that type of role," he said.

The big change for Allsopp came in the pre-season with Brazilian Ney Fabiano's arrival. With Thompson named in the Olympic team, Allsopp and Fabiano got to spend the pre-season together and Allsopp found out that 'Fab', as he's known, was not your typical Brazilian.

"Players are all different when they come in. Fabiano is so easy to play with. He's come in and been really good straight away. He works hard and does a lot of unselfish stuff and he's been really good to play with. He's a little bit different to both me and Archie. It's working well at the moment," he said.

Fabiano's will to put his body about in and around the box has meant Allsopp can play a less physical role. That allows him to focus on his attacking runs and scoring goals.

"I can concentrate on other things, rather than being the main focal point, and getting involved in the physical side of things I guess. It takes a bit of weight off my shoulders. I'm really glad that's happened, it's someone I can share my workload with," he said.

The results to date have been spectacular with Allsopp scoring four goals in the past two games against Wellington and Newcastle.

"It's a great start to the season for me. I'm concentrating and hoping I can keep going with it. It's still early days, and I'm trying to keep my feet on the ground and not get too carried away. It's a long way to go in the season," he said.

Coach Ernie Merrick appears spoiled for choice in his striking options and he had the luxury of using Thompson off the bench last Friday night against the Jets. Allsopp said the game changed when Archie entered the arena in the first half.

"I thought he came on made things happen. He was really lively going forward. He got the second goal. I guess it made a difference He made a difference at that stage, he got a hold of the ball. Having the other strikers out on the pitch, made a big difference as well," he said.

"He's got a couple of assists already. Straight away, he's got a goal and two assists. It was a big match, and he came on 25 minutes in and make the difference is great."

But Allsopp is not worried about his starting position, and said depth is a massive asset to have for any club.

"It keeps us focussed. We've got so many players in every position, you look at the quality we have on the bench the other night. I think it's good for the squad that you are not relying on the same players all the time. The competition for places, it brings out the best in everyone."

Having made such a flying start to the season, Allsopp is not going to forget about the two things which have helped him to this points, fitness and discipline.

"It's huge," he said of the influence of fitness on his form. "I've put a lot of work into it. The harder you work, the more reward you get out of it. It's something that experience has taught me, to work hard."

As for discipline, well there can't be too many A-League players who have played as many games as Allsopp and picked up just three yellow cards. Perhaps its further proof that he is not simply just a big man who throws himself about in the box

"I put myself about as much as I can. I suppose you don't get that many chances as a striker to put yourself into tackles. You don't take as many risks when you have to use desperation. I've got a pretty good record in that way," he said.