Much-travelled Melbourne Heart striker Dylan Macallister believes he is set for his best season since returning to Australia four years ago.
The 30-year-old has been hot and cold during stints with Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix and Gold Coast United.
But with seven goals in three pre-seasons outings for Heart – two against a Victorian development team, four against Port Melbourne and one against Melbourne Knights – the towering Macalliser is convinced the planets are aligning after initially fearing he might not even land another A-League contract.
"I am 30 now and I would like to think I am at my peak," Macallister told The World Game.
"At Gold Coast, it was tough last year because of all the off-field stuff surrounding the club and also the fact I missed the second half of the season with a hamstring injury.
"I was really concerned I might not get picked up by any A-League club after Gold Coast was forced out of the competition.
"But fortunately Heart came. I know John Aloisi from our time together at the Mariners and he likes the way I play and thinks I will fit into his formation.
"I feel I have been improving in recent years. I had a good spell at Wellington and they play with a similar formation to Heart.
"If I get the service, and I think there will be no shortage of that, I will convert a few of those chances.
"I've set myself the target of double figures this season and believe I will have every opportunity to achieve that, so long as I can stay fit."
Macallister is competing with Heart's Croatian import, former Dinamo Zagreb striker Josip Tadic, for a starting spot in Aloisi's line up this season.
"Whoever plays in that number nine role is going to get a lot of chances this year. The club wants to play a 4-3-3 system and I love that role as a target man," he said.
"We have young quick wingers and midfielders who can supply great balls, so I can see us scoring a lot of goals.
"Tadic has looked sharp in training and he's my main competition for that spot, although he can also play in a wider role, so we will have to wait and see.
"It will give the coaches a headache on who to play – and that's how it should be."
Aloisi is one of Macallister's heroes in the game.
"I've been in some national team camps with him and we were together at the Athens Olympics with the Olyroos. He has done amazing things in his career," Macallister said.
"I try and base my game on him and even at 30 I feel I am learning new things under him."
Macallister insisted Heart, which he says is the most professionally run he has been at in the A-League, can make a big statement despite turning over a raft of players.
"Heart made the finals last season and were disappointed in only finishing sixth. We are looking at trying to make that a top-two finish this season – that's the goal," he said.
"I have really been impressed both on and off the park.
"The football brains here in Aloisi, Hayden Foxe, John Didulica and our goalkeeping coach Peter Zois are up there with the best in the country. We have a great base to be successful."
The A-League will make its LIVE free-to-air TV debut next season with the blockbuster clash between Sydney FC and Newcastle Jets on Friday 11 October on SBS 2.