Ben Halloran believes the one positive to come out of a protracted and exhausting pre-season is the squad has a clean bill of health heading into their season opener against Perth Glory.
Halloran admitted experiencing an extended pre-season is never fun and said the team and himself were raring to go.
Adelaide United has not collected three points in the first round of the Isuzu UTE A-League campaign since the 2014/15 iteration of the competition.
“Hopefully don’t have to ever do a four month pre-season ever again,” Halloran told reporters outside the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
“It’s been pretty gruelling, the boys are definitely going to be fit coming into the season and just itching to go.”
The 29-year-old winger believed the delayed start to the season served as a blessing in disguise for some of the players rehabbing injuries.
Head Coach Carl Veart now virtually has a full squad available for the trip west.
“No one really loves pre-season,” he said.
“I think the only silver lining is that we had a lot of injuries.
“So we pretty much have a full squad now.”
Halloran feels the team is set up well for success this season and is confident the younger players in the side can continue improving, ultimately strengthening the team in the process.
“We blooded a fair few youngsters last year, so they’re only going to improve this year,” he stated.
“Having players like George Blackwood and Isaías coming back, they’re proven A-League players so I think we’ve got a pretty strong squad coming into the season.”
The former Socceroo enjoyed a consistent year last year and finished with the Aurelio Vidmar Medal.
Halloran insisted he has more to offer and increase his production in the final third from a goals and assists perspective.
“I think the older I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten a bit more consistent,” he explained.
“Obviously want to contribute as much as I can. We fell one game short last season and a couple of seasons before that we did against Perth as well.
“So for me getting a bit older, it’d be nice to take it one step further and make a grand final.”
Saturday, 20 November vs Perth Glory
Isuzu UTE A-League 2021/22 – Round 1
Kick-off 9.35pm ACDT
Venue: HBF Park