Serbian defender to make Sydney FC debut
Sydney FC will unleash Serbian enforcer Nikola Petkovic in Sunday's pre-season clash with Perth Glory, the club's final hit-out before the A-League season starts on October 11.
Petkovic, a defender coach Frank Farina says is more than capable of playing across the backline, signed with the club last week and will play his first match for the Sky Blues when they host the Glory at Kogarah's WIN Jubilee Oval.
The former Red Star Belgrade player is still struggling with jetlag and Australia's hot climate, but Farina has been impressed with his fitness.
"He's looking good and ready to go," Farina said of the 27-year-old, who penned a one-year deal.
"Conditionally, he's right up to speed with most of the other players, which I was a little bit surprised with.
"I didn't think he'd be as fit as he is, so that's great. He'll start this Sunday against Perth."
Petkovic also played for Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga, and regularly featured during Hapoel Tel Aviv's last Europa League campaign.
"He's played in Turkey as well. He has the pedigree," Farina added at Friday's training session.
"But the A-League, as everyone finds out, you've got to work hard here and it takes some adapting.
"I don't think he'll have a problem."
Petkovic said he was enjoying the shift to Sydney, although he had "just a little problem because it's eight hours different between Australia and Europe. But everything is OK".
"I need a little bit of time (to adjust) ... in the next few days, one or two weeks - I will show the coach my best," he added.
Sydney FC host the Newcastle Jets in the A-League season opener on October 11.