United eye Melbourne test as season start draws closer

PREPARATIONS for the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season are entering the final stages for Gold Coast United and the match action is set to heat up when Miron Bleiberg’s men take on Melbourne Victory on Sunday 4 September at Owen Park, Southport.

PREPARATIONS for the 2011/12 Hyundai A-League season are entering the final stages for Gold Coast United and the match action is set to heat up when Miron Bleiberg-s men take on Melbourne Victory on Sunday 4 September at Owen Park, Southport.

The match venue has been switched from Carrara to Owen Park (Southport Tigers) to provide supporters with an improved game day experience where undercover seating is available in the event of inclement weather, as well as access to the venue-s licensed facilities.

The visit of Victory comes hot on the heels of the announcement that Socceroo icon Harry Kewell will join the Melbourne club for the upcoming campaign. The encounter is sure to test both sets of players and will provide valuable insight for both coaches as to where their respective squads sit just over a month out from the start of the season proper.

“We-ve been training now for three months and although we-ve played many pre-season matches this game will be our first real test,” said United Head Coach Miron Bleiberg.

“The game will give us a very good understanding of where we are at moment in terms of our readiness for the season. There are several new players with us this year who have not experienced playing against Hyundai A-League opposition yet, so this game is very important to them in particular.”

After the Melbourne clash Gold Coast travel to Adelaide the following week to take on the Reds at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday 9 September, exactly one month before their opening 2011/12 Hyundai A-League fixture against Wellington Phoenix at Skilled Park.

Despite the four-week gap between taking on Adelaide in pre-season and kicking their first ball in anger against the Phoenix in October, the United Head Coach is happy to have the additional time to fine-tune his troops ahead of round one.

“Each week the start of the season is getting closer and we-re all looking forward to it, but if there was only one week between our last pre-season match and our first round game, there would not be enough time to fix anything that needs fixing,” he said.

“There will be a lot of training sessions, one or two more local friendlies then mostly internal games where we can really get ourselves ready for the big kick off. Everyone is starting to feel like the season is almost upon us again and for football people and football fans that is a great feeling.”

Before taking on Victory, United will play another local training match against Broadbeach United at Broadbeach Oval next Tuesday evening (30 August). Meet and greet will be from 5.00pm with the training match kicking off at 7.00pm.

Hyundai A-League pre-season friendly - Sunday 4 September 2011 GOLD COAST UNITED v MELBOURNE VICTORY At Owen Park, Jackman St, Southport. Kick off: 3.00pm Tickets at the gate: Adults $10 - Concessions $5 - Kids under 12 free.