James Delianov has won the battle of the rookie goalkeepers and will make his official Adelaide United debut on Monday night against his former club Western United at GMHBA Stadium.
Having sold Paul Izzo to Greek outfit Xanthi FC, the Reds opted for three inexperienced glovemen – Delianov, Dakota Ochsenham and Joe Gauci – in their 2020-21 squad,
Delianov, 21, has just one A-League appearance to his name, but that is one more top-flight game than either 21-year-old Ochsenham or Gauci, 20, have played.
“James will start as our number one,” Reds coach Carl Veart said on Sunday.
“When we looked for a goalkeeper I was quite happy to go with a young goalkeeper that I believe has the potential to go on and play at a really high level.”
Delianov was part of Western United’s inaugural A-League squad last season after previously being a Melbourne City player.
But stuck behind standout Polish gloveman Filip Kurto at Western, Delianov jumped at the chance to sign a two-year deal with the Reds.
“I’ve come to Adelaide to further my game and develop my football under Carl, but also under (goalkeeper coach) Eugene Galekovic,” Delianov said.
The Reds squad on Monday night is certain to feature 2015 Asian Cup-winning striker Tomi Juric, who has returned to the club this season after a seven-year absence.
“Tomi will definitely take part,” Veart said.
“He’s looked very sharp this week on the training paddock.”
Tomi Juric is a Red again 🔴@AdelaideUnited fans, how excited are you to see the @Socceroos striker in action tomorrow?#AUFC #ALeague pic.twitter.com/GPyBpVi2BJ
However, Veart was still to decide whether Spanish recruit Javier Lopez would be included in Adelaide’s match-day squad after his recent quarantine spell,
“With Javi we’re not too sure yet. He’s still a little bit underdone, and we don’t want to rush him,” the Reds coach said.
“(But) you can already see this week in training the quality that both of them (Lopez and Juric) have.”
If versatile veteran Lopez does play, he could cross paths with his former Espanyol teammate Victor Sanchez, who was on Sunday named in Western’s extended squad.
Veart was excited about the start of the season, his first as permanent Reds coach after taking over in an interim capacity for the closing stages of the 2019-20 campaign.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how our new players have adapted to our style of play,” Veart said.
“You always want to start the season on the right foot, and get the three points, especially going away from home, which makes it a little bit tougher,
“I’m very happy where we are and I’m just looking forward to getting that first game out the way.”
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