Veart confident Reds are ready for season opener

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Adelaide United coach Carl Veart is expecting young guys Nestory Irankunda and Bernardo to fight it out for the left wing position vacated by Craig Goodwin, but he stopped short of confirming who would take the spot in the Isuzu UTE A-League season opener against Central Coast on Friday night.

Speaking before the Reds completed their preparations for the match at Coopers Stadium, Veart said both teenagers had impressed in the pre-season, adding fitness and strength to push their claims for a starting role.

The Reds will kick off the A-League Men’s season against the reigning champions as part of a double header involving the A-League Women’s teams and are expecting a strong, parochial crowd for both matches.

Veart said the side was training in the off-season to be less reliant on Goodwin’s output, even before the former captain departed for a new club in Saudi Arabia, and that would stand it in good stead for the 2023/24 campaign.

Carl Veart on the preparations for Round 1:

“I think we’re better prepared than what we were last season going into the season. We’ve had a good three weeks leading into the season with three good quality games so the boys are really looking forward to get going tomorrow night.”

Carl Veart on whether there will be any changes to Adelaide’s game style this season:

“The key things that we’ve spoken about since day one of preseason is the changes that we’ve made to our playing style. I’m sure you’ll pick them out tomorrow. You know, we’re very reliant on playing through Craig (Goodwin) last year, and from preseason, we started trying to find other solutions for that. And, just as well, because Craig moved on. So we’re excited with the way that we’re going to play.

“We’ve been working on our defence for a long time, because you know, there’s no secret that we conceded far too many goals (last season). And so we’ve been trying to make it more collectively as a team to defend a lot better and I think we’ve succeeded on that so far preseason.”

Carl Veart on continuing to give young players opportunities in 2023/24:

“That’s a big mantra from when I came into the club, so there’s no difference in that. I think our supporters should be really excited to see these young players that are going to come through and move from our club onto big clubs, because they’re exciting players. They’re excellent players. I say to our supporters to come out support them while you can.”

Carl Veart on Nestory Irankunda’s development:

“Nesta has worked extremely hard in the preseason. I think this has been his third preseason with the elite squad so in that time, he’s developed more physically. And you’ll see that this year, he will be a lot more dangerous this year than what he was last year released. He’ll definitely be in the mix to start (games). It’s a question whether we go that way, or we ease him back in and playing off the bench.”

Carl Veart on Bernardo being like a new recruit after injury cruelled him last season:

“He’s had a great preseason. It’s just unfortunate that we had a little bit of illness go through the camp two weeks ago, so he missed a week with that, but he’s had a great preseason. He’s returned a lot stronger now. He’s increased his output for us as well. So, again, you know, we’re expecting big things from Bernardo. He had a great first season with the club, and we expect him to get back to that level and even higher.”

Carl Veart on what he expects from the Mariners:

“It was disappointing the way that we lost to them (in finals) last year. But that was last season. Hopefully, we’ve learned from that. They’ve made changes to their playing staff and coaching staff, so we’re a little bit unsure whether there’s going to be a change in their playing style. But you know, they were a great side last year, and we expect it to be a very difficult game again, tomorrow night.

Carl Veart on new British arrival Ryan Tunnicliffe:

“He’s close to starting mind you he came to us about four or five weeks, so he’s still getting up to the full conditioning that he needs to get to play and in our summer conditions. He’s had a little bit of illness as well the last week and a half. He’ll be close to starting tomorrow. He brings a lot more toughness in the middle of the park and provides a lot more protection to our back four, something we’ve sort of been lacking, especially when we look at midfield balance. We’ve got a lot of young players in that midfield balance so we need that little bit more experience in there and we just can’t keep relying on Isaias.”

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