Teams count down to season kick-off

The Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season is just 14 days away and all ten clubs are in the final stages of their preparation for the opening round.

The Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season is just 14 days away and all ten clubs are in the final stages of their preparation for the opening round.

Without a formal Pre-Season Cup competition this year, the Hyundai A-League clubs have been very creative with their choice of opposition for friendly matches ranging from the local state league through to English Premier League teams.

All clubs have used the pre-season to trial players, formations and tactics with their early form pointing to an extremely exciting Hyundai A-League season ahead.

Click here for all the Player In's and Out's

Adelaide United

Adelaide United Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar has had the luxury of a longer pre-season campaign than the previous two years. Vidmar has saved his two most interesting signings for last with the addition of former Ghanaian international striker Lloyd Owusu from Cheltenham Town and Korean midfielder Inseob Shin from Kunkuk University. Owusu definitely has an eye for goal scoring 436 goals during his 11 year period in the English Championship, League One and League Two competitions. Twenty year-old Shin, as he prefers to be known as, impressed the Adelaide United coaching staff after a two-week trial and definitely looks to be a player to watch this season. Vidmar also signed local boys Joe Costa and Francesco Monterosso following their performances in last season-s National Youth League. Adelaide United-s pre-season match schedule has focused mainly on local state league clubs and the South Australian representative team as well as fixtures against Perth Glory at home, North Queensland Fury in Darwin and their traditional pre-season match against Melbourne Victory in Launceston, Tasmania this weekend.

Brisbane Roar

The Brisbane Roar embarked on their annual pre-season “Roar Roadshow” with Head Coach Frank Farina scheduling 11 fixtures in the lead-up to their opening match blockbuster against local rivals Gold Coast United on Saturday 8 August at Suncorp Stadium. Although the majority of the Roar-s opposition has been local Brisbane state league clubs at suburban venues, their biggest test was against Scottish Premier League powerhouse club Celtic FC in the annual Translink Cup. Unfortunately for the Roar they were defeated 0-3, but took many positives out of the match including the memory of an electric stadium atmosphere generated from the 31,340 fans in attendance.

Central Coast Mariners

After participating in their first AFC Champions League campaign, the Central Coast Mariners took a well deserved break and then re-grouped at the start of June to focus on the season ahead. Lawrie McKinna has added English defender Chris Doig and promoted National Youth League player Matthew Lewis to his squad and released Andre Gumprecht, Paul O-Grady and Greg Owens. The Mariners have been undefeated in their six pre-season fixtures to date, a statistic that McKinna hopes his team can take into and continue throughout the season proper.

Gold Coast United

Gold Coast United have completed their Hyundai A-League player roster with the recent signing of nineteen year-old Ivorian defender Adama Traore. Traore appeared on Miron Bleiberg-s radar via some DVD-s that landed on his desk and after a short trial period was promptly offered a contract. Gold Coast United has traveled extensively during the pre-season with fixtures played in New Caledonia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Like the Mariners, Gold Coast United has been undefeated in their seven pre-season matches to date. The most impressive result being their 2-1 win over English Premier League Club Fulham FC.

Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory pulled off their biggest signing coups in the off-season when they announced that Club Captain Kevin Muscat had signed on for another year along with the successful transfer of Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez to the club for the next 3 years. In addition, the Victory signed twenty six year-old Thai international defender Surat Sukha on a two-year deal. Unfortunately, foundation goal-keeper Michael Theoklitos was released to take up a contract with English League One Club Norwich City, whilst Jose Luis Lopez mutually ended his loan period with Melbourne Victory, to allow him to return to Costa Rica in the hope of claiming a place in the national team leading into the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Head Coach Ernie Merrick took his team to China for matches against Guangzhou and Tianjin and also had an eventful road-trip to Queenstown, New Zealand, for a match against Wellington Phoenix in very chilly conditions. In their other major pre-season match Melbourne Victory was defeated 0-3 by Fulham FC at Etihad Stadium.

Newcastle Jets

The Newcastle Jets made it out of the group stage in their first foray into the AFC Champions League but were knocked out by Korean club Pohang Steelers in the Round of 16 last month. Since then, the Jets have signed Brodie Mooy and Sean Rooney after their impressive AFC Champions League performances and also appointed Branko Culina as their Head Coach. Culina has had his eye on a number of trialists in the past week and is expected to make his final squad signings in the near future. Due to their heavy match schedule during the “off-season”, the Jets have played fewer pre-season friendlies in comparison to the other clubs, but no doubt they will be looking for a flying start come round 1.

North Qyueensland Fury

North Queensland Fury has had an interesting pre-season with only one win from their nine matches but have learned plenty from the experience. The highlight so far was seeing their inaugural marquee player, Robbie Fowler, score on debut against newly promoted English Premier League Club Wolverhampton Wanderers in Perth. The addition of Qantas Young Socceroo Osama Malik and former youth international David Williams will also provide plenty of speed and excitement for the Fury. Felipe, Marton Vass and Brendon Santalab will not line up for North Queensland this season with Felipe and Vass mutually terminating their contracts and Santalab moving to Chinese Super League outfit Chengdu Blades.

Perth Glory

Perth Glory have continued their audacious recruitment program with the signings of Qantas Socceroos Mile Sterjovski and Chris Coyne along with English defender Andy Todd and Serbian striker Branko Jelic. Twenty year-old Western Australian born and bred goalkeeper Aleks Vrteski returns to Perth Glory after spending the past season in Macedonia with FK Pobeda. On the field, Perth Glory-s pre-season campaign hasn-t been as successful with losses to touring English Premier League clubs Fulham FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers as well as Adelaide United. Head Coach David Mitchell isn-t too worried at the moment and knows that pre-season results mean very little once the competition starts.

Sydney FC

Sydney FC has enjoyed somewhat of a quiet revolution under new Head Coach Vitezslav Lavicka. The recent signing of Korean defender Byun Sung-Hwan from K-League club Jeju United on a 2 year deal goes a long way toward filling the space left after former Qantas Socceroo Tony Popovic retired midway through last season to take up a coaching position within the club. From their 12 pre-season matches Sydney FC are undefeated, have scored an impressive 25 goals and conceded just 1 goal in 1080 minutes of football! Lavicka is not getting carried away with this early success and has been very careful with the amount of game time that he has given individual players to ensure that they will be ready for the start of the season.

Wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix have had a somewhat interrupted pre-season with seven players and head coach Ricki Herbert joining the New Zealand national team, the All Whites, to compete at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa during June. Herbert has also been busy in the transfer market recently signing goalkeeper Reece Crowther from Queens Park Rangers, striker Paul Ifill from Crystal Palace and Kiwi teenager Marco Rojas from Hamilton Wanderers. The Phoenix pre-season schedule included matches against Melbourne Victory in Queenstown and a Mainland Select XI in Christchurch before heading to China for fixtures against Tianjin Teda and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical. Wellington-s final pre-season match will be against the Central Coast Mariners in Dubbo this Saturday.

With the so much pre-season activity going on, the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season is shaping to be bigger than ever.