Heart need time

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip has cautioned that his brand new side are not yet fully wound-up and that it may take a few weeks into the season for the performance of the team to reflect the potential of the players involved.

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip has cautioned that his brand new side are not yet fully wound-up and that it may take a few weeks into the season for the performance of the team to reflect the potential of the players involved.

There has been much buzz about Heart's recruiting ahead of its debut season, with a mix of locally-grown talent like Simon Colosimo, John Aloisi, Michael Beauchamp and Josip Skoko along with highly-rated imports such as Dutchman Gerald Sibon and Rutger Worm and Brazilian Alex Terra.

Van 't Schip believes he has got the quality of players to challenge for the finals in the first year, but after only having three weeks with his full squad, believes it may take some time yet for things to gel.

"We should be ready, it's a process we are in, we have just started up the club and played a few games, I've had the squad together for three weeks. There is still a long w ay to go. That's why it's good we have a 30-game schedule this year," he said.

"The last three weeks we-ve had the squad together. We will need a lot of work still to be done. But you never know how things go. We could be very good the first game and then we could have our problems."

"It depends on the day, on how things are working out, but I know that physically that we need some weeks to become even stronger. The game play will come with playing a lot of games."

While he is cautious about predicting a big start to the season, van 't Schip is adamant that his side will give a very good account of itself in its much-anticipated opening game against Central Coast on Thursday at AAMI Park.

"I'm very confident about what I've seen in the training and the games that we've played. We're going to be ready on Thursday," he said.

"Now, the reason we have all worked so hard for is arriving. The time is there for the kick off next week and that's very exciting."

What van 't Schip finds most exciting about the squad in not necessarily the big names, such as Skoko, who will be playing his first club game in Australia in 15 years, but the enormous potential of the club's group of young players.

He sees the likes of Brendan Hamill, Kliment Taseski, Eli Babalj, Kamal Ibrahim, who have all just returned from Young Socceroos duty, as crucial to the club's hopes of improving throughout its debut year.

"They can make a big difference in the growth of the team because normally a young player improves quicker than an experienced player because they still have a lot to learn," he said.

"If we can get the younger players going this season and giving them a lot of help and give them playing time, it will be great thing for us. Hopefully we can achieve that this season."