The kick-off to season seven is just around the corner and Adelaide United captain Jon McKain believes the Reds’ revamped squad is well situated ahead of their Hyundai A-League assault.
The kick-off to season seven is just around the corner and Adelaide United captain Jon McKain believes the Reds- revamped squad is well situated ahead of their Hyundai A-League assault.
Bringing together a squad consisting of eight new names was always going to be somewhat intriguing in regards to seeing how the dynamics of the group would develop.
Following a major overhaul of the Reds- squad list from last season, one of Head Coach Rini Coolen-s challenges was always going to be how his new playing group would gel both on and off the park.
With less than four weeks to go until the Reds- first game against Perth Glory on October 9, McKain-s response on how the team has come together is an overwhelmingly positive one. The camaraderie between the playing group, both in what they have set out to achieve this season as well as their combinations and understanding on the field is, according to the Reds skipper, in a really positive position.
After countless training sessions and a number of practise games against local clubs, McKain says the club-s three pre season matches against Hyundai A-League opposition, which started last Friday night against Gold Coast United and includes games against Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory, will give them an indication of how far they have come as a group.
“It-s gelling well. We-ve trained hard the last couple of weeks and now it-s action time with a few friendly games so we-ll get a better feel of where we-re at,” McKain said.
“But we-re confident with the progress we-ve made and I think everyone just can-t wait to start the season, it can-t come soon enough.”
“It-s just a matter of getting new players into a new team, that-s the hard thing. We-ve got a lot of individuals and for us to gel as a team will be the difficult thing, but so far I think we-ve bonded well and these games are going to be a good test for us.”
The Qantas Socceroos defender, who is returning for his second stint in the Hyundai A-League after playing two seasons with the Wellington Phoenix, is no stranger when it comes to trying to fit into a new playing group. Time in Romania and Saudi Arabia has given McKain experience in building a positive rapport with his team mates.
Due to the longer than usual off season this year, the majority of the Reds- squad has been together for close to three months and is arguably a blessing in disguise. For the chance to get to know each other-s game styles and strengths, coupled with the fact that Coolen has set the Reds to play a fast, exciting brand of football, McKain is confident the players can put it all into action on the field when the time comes to deliver.
“I think he (Coolen) has blended the squad well and now it-s a matter of us implementing the game plan that we-re going to go in the season with, which is very aggressive but at the same time players knowing their defensive roles,” McKain said.
“I think we-ve got enough quality to be up the top and if we can implement the strategy and the game plan then hopefully we-ll have attacking football, goals aplenty and plenty of clean sheets.”
Due to the Reds- strong off season recruiting, there is arguably pressure on this Adelaide United squad to be one of the teams to beat this season and better last season-s loss in the second week of the finals. But while McKain acknowledges the wealth of talent the club has been able to attract, he does not feel any added pressure to succeed and instead cannot wait for the challenge ahead.
“I wouldn-t say pressure, I think it-s exciting,” McKain insisted.
“There are definitely expectations, we-ve talked about what we want to achieve this year as a group, but at the end of the day we want to improve on last year-s result, it-s as simple as that.”
From the sounds of it, McKain and the Reds are on a mission.
Adelaide United season tickets and memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season are now available through Ticketek.