Adelaide United welcome Sydney FC to Coopers Stadium on Friday night to launch the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season.
Gertjan Verbeek will oversee his first league match in charge as Head Coach and knows his side will be in for a tough test against the defending champions.
Adelaide have not beaten Sydney in their previous nine league meetings and will be determined the new season coincides with a change in fortune.
“I think we did well in the pre-season,” Verbeek told reporters at Coopers Stadium in the pre-match press conference.
“We did well in the FFA Cup and if it’s good enough to beat the champion of last year I don’t know we’ll see.
“And for me I’m excited to start after a very long pre-season.”
The Dutchman also expected several of his players to build on from what they did last year heading into the new campaign and take their games to another level.
“I think a lot of players learned a lot last year,” he said.
“(Ryan) Kitto has changed position, his thoughts are now on being a left defender and not on the left wing.
“(Ryan) Strain got out of the team and wants to do it better than last year and even Jordan (Elsey) at the end of the season was not a starter any more.
“Mirko (Boland) had a difficult season in his first year in Australia and on the wing Ben (Halloran) is getting better and better.
“I told him also now that Craig Goodwin is gone he cannot hide anymore and has to perform well and take the young boys by the hand and lead them to success – that’s his new role.”
New signing James Troisi has been ruled out from the clash with Verbeek not wanting to rush the attacking midfielder into the side, despite admitting he was in good physical condition.
“He played the last time in May and then stopped playing football,” he said.
“He’s had a personal coach and physically he’s in good shape I have to say, but he trained Saturday for the first time and this week he did all the trainings and made a good impression.
“But it’s too early to select him for the match tomorrow.”
Mirko Boland is also unavailable with a hamstring complaint before the 57-year-old suggested Paul Izzo will start after overcoming a virus.
Meanwhile, Sydney FC will be without Andrew Redmayne and Rhyan Grant who are both away on international duty with the Socceroos.
Adelaide United host Sydney FC in Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Friday, 11 October at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, Kayo Sports and the My Football Live App.