8 October 2014 05:35
David Villa looks set to make his A-League debut when Melbourne City face Sydney in the opening round.
Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer, on loan from New York City, arrived in Australia on Sunday and has already started training with his new team-mates.
John van ‘t Schip appears set to use Villa at Allianz Stadium on Saturday, but the 32-year-old may start on the bench.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed at all [if I started on the bench),” Villa said on Tuesday.
“I’m the one that needs to adapt to the team. We’ve still got more sessions to come before the game.
“It’s up to the coach, I’m just a member of the team. There’s a squad of 23 players, 11 on the pitch and the objective is to enjoy my experience and contribute and it’s not up to me.”
City, who finished bottom of the league last season, need to make the most of Villa during the striker’s 10-game stint in Melbourne.
City Football Group bought a majority stake in the club, previously Melbourne Heart, and with big-name owners have come greater expectations.
Former Hull City midfielder Robert Koren and ex-Chelsea and Fulham winger Damien Duff, while Australians Aaron Mooy and Erik Paartalu are also good signings.
Graham Arnold’s Sydney are also among the title favourites, even though Alessandro Del Piero has left the club.
Austria captain Marc Janko is their big-name signing and the former Porto and Twente striker will be eager to have an impact.
Melbourne Victory and AFC Champions League finalists Western Sydney Wanderers open the season at Etihad Stadium on Friday.
Kevin Muscat’s Victory side have made multiple good signings, including bringing in 2011-12 golden boot winner Besart Berisha from the Brisbane Roar.
The Wanderers, runners-up in the past two seasons, have made several changes in the close-season but deserve respect under Tony Popovic.
Reigning champions Brisbane Roar host Josep Gombau’s Adelaide United on Sunday in an intriguing round one match-up.
Central Coast Mariners take on Newcastle Jets in the F3 Derby on Saturday, with both teams underestimated during the close-season.
Former Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh is set to make his debut on Sunday, when his Perth Glory make the long trip to New Zealand to face Wellington Phoenix.