Sydney FC coach Ian Crook has confirmed Alessandro Del Piero will travel to Wellington on Friday for the club’s first match of the season.
Sydney play the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night in the first round of the 2012/13 A-League campaign.
Crook told members of the media he plans to manage Del Piero’s playing time “smartly”.
“We’ve said all the way along that it’s a long-term project,” Crook said.
“He’s not here on short-term guesting, but we feel that he’s got enough quality to be able to give us something different.”
The Sydney FC coach has a number of options up front and, with Del Piero confirmed in the squad of 15, Crook has some tough decisions to make.
“It’s a nice headache to have,” Crook said.
“Obviously it’s disappointing for some of them that are going to miss out.”
“At the end of it you can only pick 15 to go, so it’s a difficult situation.”
Meanwhile, Crook is delighted by Brett Emerton’s progress, with the Socceroos stalwart expected to make the trip to New Zealand.
The 33-year-old has recovered from ankle surgery and Crook hopes he will be a regular presence throughout the campaign.
“Emo’s always been a fairly natural athlete,” Crook said.
“He hasn’t had as much game time as the other boys, but the type of individual he is – he’s been a player for a long time now – he knows what he needs to do to get himself right.
“What we’ve seen in the previous week, he’s been great.”