Adelaide United FC’s squad hit the training track to start its pre-season program with head coach John Kosmina expecting big things from his squad this upcoming season.
Kosmina insists there are plenty of incentives for his players to drive through what is set to be a thorough and gruelling pre-season program, especially with the AFC Champions League Quarter Final against Bunyodkor just 10 weeks away (19th September).
The two matches against Bunyodkor will be quickly followed by the start of the 2012/13 A-League season, with Kosmina keen to put last years’ disappointing ninth-placed finish behind them and make a significant challenge for the finals.
Coach John Kosmina believes this will spur the players on even more.
“It has been a good break. The time travelled really quickly but it’s good because we’ve got a fair bit in front of us, especially the 19th of September which is exciting,” Kosmina said.
“So it gives everyone a good carrot to dangle in front of them and gives the players plenty of incentive as well because it’s not just about the A-League.”
Pleasingly for Kosmina, every player in the Reds squad except for Jake Barker-Daish, who is on international duty with the Young Socceroos, was in attendance at the first session, which began with a series of tests and time trials under the instruction of new High Performance Manager Sean Tagg.
Midfielder Osama Malik has recovered from a knee injury that kept him out of United’s last two AFC Champions League games before the break, and having 21 players out of a maximum 23 secured for season eight, Kosmina is relishing the chance to have a near full squad on deck from day one.
“The good thing is everyone is in together. From what I understand, last season players were turning up spasmodically and you couldn’t really get continuity, so the good thing is we all start on a level playing field,” Kosmina said.
“Pre-season is an opportunity to take a player out of his comfort zone in terms of the type of work you do, how you do it and how much you do, so it’s another way of looking at what’s inside someone mentally and on a more spiritual level as well.”
One of the Reds’ two remaining spots on the roster became vacant after the departure of defender Daniel Mullen to Chinese club Dalian Aerbin last week. However, Kosmina revealed his preference was on finding an attacking midfielder to bolster the squad rather than a direct replacement for Mullen.
“I’d like to find an attacking midfielder but I’m not going to dive in. We need to look at what’s available…you get a lot of YouTube footage but some of it is three or four years old, so you’ve got to be really careful,” Kosmina said.
“You’ve got to look at their condition, their fitness and you can’t judge personality on a DVD either, you need to actually meet the person to see what they’re like.”
“I think we’ve got more than enough to cover Daniel (Mullen) with what we’ve got,” Kosmina said.
“Daniel Bowles can play there, Cameron Watson played there last season, Fyfey has played as a right back in the past, Jon McKain has played as a right back as has Nigel Boogaard when he was at the Central Coast, so it’s not the most difficult position to cover, but having said that Daniel did a good job.”