They are not Adelaide United’s version of Batman & Robin, but the coming together of two of the Hyundai A-League’s most prolific strikers into the Reds’ squad has the capacity to pack a similar punch and inflict similar pain on their adversaries to that of the caped crusaders.
They are not Adelaide United-s version of Batman & Robin, but the coming together of two of the Hyundai A-League-s most prolific strikers into the Reds- squad has the capacity to pack a similar punch and inflict similar pain on their adversaries to that of the caped crusaders.
From the time Bruce Djite signed with United back in March, many have pondered if and how he and fellow striker Sergio van Dijk will combine at the pointy end of the Reds- formation.
The two have lined up together in a number of the Reds- training matches over the past two months to good effect, which included them both scoring twice in a dominant display against Western Strikers.
It may still be too early to gauge how fruitful Adelaide United-s new strike force will be this season, but ask Djite whether he and van Dijk, last season-s Golden Boot winner, can make it work, and the answer is one that would bring music to the ears of Reds fans everywhere.
“We-ve been working hard at it in training and it has been really good so far,” Djite said of his growing understanding with van Dijk.
“It has been really positive from my point of view and the more time we have to work together, hopefully we can get it working like clockwork.”
In Adelaide United-s short history, the club has arguably not had a strike force with as much potency as what van Dijk and Djite bring into this season.
Previously there was Chinese marksman Shengqing Qu and Fernando Rech, Djite and Nathan Burns, and a guest appearance from Brazilian goal scoring great Romario. But while Qu, Rech and Romario all have proven goal scoring records, arguably none were in or approaching the height of their powers at the Reds like Djite and van Dijk appear to be.
Van Dijk is coming off a stellar 2010/11 campaign in which he led the league-s goal scoring tally, finding the back of the net 17 times from 30 appearances. The achievement takes the former Brisbane Roar striker-s total from three Hyundai A-League seasons to 67 goals from 80 games.
Djite-s conversion rate last season is also more than worthy of mention. The Hyundai A-League-s Rising Star from 2007/08 netted 10 goals and had three scoring assists from his 23 games for Gold Coast United.
Van Dijk, the Reds- main strike weapon last season, is delighted to have a player of Djite-s calibre, not only to combine with, but also to compete against.
“I know he (Djite) is a player that can play in the spot that I am playing but it-s also an option to play together and I want to try and make the best cooperation with him on the field and that means we have to work together to try and make us the most dangerous combination in the A-League,” van Dijk said.
“I think the understanding we have is going really well. Obviously we have to improve more and more and that takes time, but from what I-ve seen in the last couple of weeks it is really positive and we are both pushing ourselves a lot to try and keep improving and hopefully scoring more goals.”
“There may be a time where the coach thinks it will be better to play with one striker and then we have to fight for one spot, so then we have to both be on the top of our games to get a spot in the starting eleven.”
One who aims to set his expectations higher with every new season comes around, van Dijk believes Djite-s addition to the squad will make him work harder to become an even better player, but more importantly bolster the Reds- likelihood of success.
“I want to play every game and I have to push myself to be the best,” van Dijk said.
“It-s good that we-ve got a player like Bruce in the squad and I hope he-ll bring the best out of me and I-ll bring the best out of him because in the end it benefits the team.”
“In the end we want to win games and it-s not about me or Bruce.”
Djite shares a similar sentiment to his strike partner.
“We are working hard towards trying to achieve a common goal, but it-s not only the two of us but the whole team trying to achieve it,” Djite said.
Adelaide United supporters will get a chance to see van Dijk and Djite in action when the Reds face Gold Coast United in a pre season game on Friday 9 September 2011 at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Kick-Off is at 7.30pm and tickets are available now through www.ticketek.com.au.