Sydney FC striker Shane Smeltz says he’s feeling better than he has in a long time after an injury free pre-season in which the striker has found the back of the net three times for the Sky Blues and once for his country.
The New Zealand striker heads into this Friday’s friendly against his former club Wellington Phoenix in Wollongong already keen for the season to start.
“I’m feeling very good. Obviously we’re still a number of weeks away but at this stage I’m feeling very good,” he said.
“Pre-season has definitely served its purpose for me and it has been a while since I’ve felt this good.
“I’ve had a very good pre-season, I just need to get a couple more games under my belt and hopefully we’re all ready for round one.”
The 33-year-old All Whites striker suffered with a number of injury troubles until coming to Sydney FC.
Under the guidance of the Sky Blues’ backroom staff, who nursed him back to full fitness, he found a rich vein of form last season, scoring eight times from just nine starts.
Now he is looking to push on and believes the recruitment by the Sky Blues during the off-season will help.
“We’ve brought in some real quality and quality players know how to fit into systems really well, plus Arnie makes it pretty simple for players to understand,” he said.
“We’ve got a number of patterns we are learning at the moment and we are slowly getting there but come round one hopefully we’ll be all guns blazing and ready to go.”
Smeltz is relishing the chance to add to his pre-season tally when his former club Wellington Phoenix visit WIN Stadium to take on the Sky Blues.
“It’s always nice to play an old club and I’ve still got some players who were there at that time and are good mates and All White players as well.
“It’s another very good game for us in pre-season and one we’ll be taking very seriously knowing it’s only a few weeks around the corner until round one.”
Some may think his new found strength comes from the beard he has developed since he last played a Hyundai A-League game and thankfully it’s here to stay!
“There’s no plan [for the beard] but I’m feeling fantastic with it so it’s probably going to stay for now.”
Sydney FC are in action on Friday night at WIN Stadium, Wollongong in the South Coast Football Challenge. See the Sky Blues Westfield W-League squad take on the Illawarra Stingrays in a curtain raiser (kick off 5:15pm) before the Hyundai A-League squad face the Wellington Phoenix (kick off 7:30pm).
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