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Victory primed for derby opener

Melbourne Victory skipper Adrian Leijer cannot wait for the new A-League campaign to start on Friday under new coach Ange Postecoglou.

Postecoglou joined Victory just days after leading Brisbane Roar to a second consecutive A-League championship in April and wasted little time in attempting to start another football dynasty at his new club.

The veteran boss oversaw the release of marquee signings Harry Kewell and Carlos Hernandez, but brought in a bevy of new players expected to shine under his tutelage.

Former Johnny Warren medallist Marcos Flores was Postecoglou’s biggest signing, but the addition of Brazilian Guilherme Finkler, Mauritian Jonathan Bru and youngster Theo Markelis leaves Victory with a plethora of attacking options.

The team will look decidedly different to the one which missed the finals under Mehmet Durakovic, Kevin Muscat and Jim Magilton last campaign and Leijer said the whole team was looking forward to their opening match of the season against cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

“It is exciting, especially with the derby being in Round 1,” Leijer told Sportal on Tuesday.

“There is no better way to start.

“It is probably the biggest game in the A-League and to establish ourselves and to let everybody know the A-League is back.

“We have had four months of pre-season and we have been working pretty hard adapting to what Ange wants us to do.”

Leijer expects Victory to take some time to adjust to Postecoglou’s coaching style, but knows that success will eventually come under the veteran mentor.

“He is a very, very good coach, there is no doubt about that,” Leijer said of Postecoglou.

“He has come in with an immense amount of respect among the group and he has already got massive respect in the A-League.

“The culture he has been creating at the club is exciting for us as players as we know we are going to get better under him.

“As a group we know we can have success under him if we adapt to what he wants us to do.

“It is exciting times for the football club and hopefully we can do the job on the field where it matters.”

And while Leijer admitted that Victory will miss the attacking flair of Kewell and Hernandez, he is expecting plenty of goals from a variety of sources this time around.

“Archie has been around a long time and is a proven goalscorer, so we know we are going to get goals out of him,” Leijer said.

“But a guy like Marco Rojas, he had a bit of a quite year last year, but I think he is one that has looked pretty exciting during pre-season.

“Then we have got Finkler and Flores in behind them who will provide a lot of opportunities for those guys.

“So we have got a very attacking line up and hopefully that excites the fans.”

Tue 2 October, 2012
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