Macallister in good shape for Melbourne clash

NEW Gold Coast United striker Dylan Macallister took to the training field with his new teammates for the first time today after arriving from Iceland yesterday evening.

NEW Gold Coast United striker Dylan Macallister took to the training field with his new teammates for the first time today after arriving from Iceland yesterday evening.

The 29-year-old former Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners man played his final match of a short-term deal with Icelandic champions Breidablik last Monday before jetting back to Australia.

Despite picking up a bruised ankle in the match, Macallister has declared himself fit to play when United take on Melbourne Victory in a pre-season encounter this Sunday (4 September) at Owen Park, Southport (3.00pm).

“I copped a little ankle knock in my last game over there; nothing serious, just bruising, but it swelled a little on the flight. I should be fine to play in Sunday-s game against Melbourne Victory though and that will be a good one to start in,” Macallister said.

“I-ve arrived in pretty good shape after my time in Iceland and I-m just about where I should be fitness-wise. It was a pretty good level over there and I managed to get a few goals. We played in a couple of European Champions League qualifiers and overall it was a really good experience.

“I-ve got a few weeks now to settle in with the boys here and get used to this climate again!”

A long-time target of United Head Coach Miron Bleiberg, Macallister will provide steel to the Gold Coast front line, in a role he is more than familiar with and more than happy to play.

“As a striker and target man my job is to score and create goals, as well as providing a presence up front to win a lot of balls in the air and give defenders something to think about. Hopefully I can add to the squad something it doesn't already have, which is that physical presence in the front line,” he said.

“I welcome the responsibility of leading the line and I-ve played as a lone striker a lot in my career. If I-m asked to do that job then I-m ready for it.

“Strikers get judged on their goal tally of course so hopefully I-ll be able to get a few. I-m here to do a job and I-m happy to be at Gold Coast United.

In his first training run the 193cm striker enjoyed a first look at some of United-s young speedsters who will provide the pace and mobility to complement his guile and experience. As well as passing on some of his football smarts, Macallister hopes to benefit from the energy and enthusiasm of Gold Coast-s young brigade.

“Importantly, there are a lot of good, quick young players here and it-ll be good to have them around me to do all the running,” he joked.

“I hope to be able to take a lot of the load off their shoulders and allow them to play the way they can. I will benefit from that because they have the pace and skill to get into those wide positions and whip balls into the box.

“Everyone knows what-s at stake this season - whether you-re 17 or 33 years old the expectation is the same and we-re all playing for a place in the team. There-s plenty of competition for starting spots and that-s what a good team needs.”