Ersan Gulum and Vince Lia will make their Adelaide United debuts in Wednesday’s FFA Cup clash with Melbourne Victory but it’s too soon for new signing Karim Matmour.
And Gulum, who arrived in Adelaide in mid-July, said the Reds will have a fitness advantage over Victory after a huge pre-season under new boss Marco Kurz.
Kurz confirmed the team news on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the clash of the rivals as Marden Sports Complex.
United signed former Algeria international Matmour on Monday last week, while Gulum and Lia were added earlier in the off-season but missed the cup win over Newcastle a fortnight ago.
“No, Karim is not ready,” Kurz said. “I think he needs time to adapt to training.
“He’s only been here for five days with the team, I think it’s too early. He’s not in the squad.
“Vinnie is in the squad. He’s fit. He trained the whole week with the team.
“Also Ersan is fitter than two weeks ago.”
Melbourne-born Gulum, who spent his entire professional career in Turkey before moving to China last year where he’s been loaned back to Adelaide, was full of enthusiasm about finally playing in Australia.
“I’m excited. I’ve been thinking about this game for two weeks now,” Gulum said.
“It gives me nerves, which is good.
“I’m very excited to be part of the team tomorrow. Being on the official stage tomorrow.”
The 30-year-old central defender insisted Adelaide’s pre-season under Kurz bodes well, believing they’ll be fitter than Victory.
“It’s going to be a good test for both teams,” he said. “It’ll show where both teams are at.
“I think we will be fitter than the other team as we are working really hard.
“We’re training twice or three times a week with double sessions, which is very important.
“We’ve been working well as a team for the last two-three weeks now. It’s never easy to get a new squad in, new coach, what he wants takes time.
“What we’ve produced on the training pitch has shown in our games. We’re doing very well as a team.
“I think we’re going to be a big threat in the league this year.
“We are ready. We’re just hoping our supporters will come out tomorrow.”
Gulum, who has seven Turkey caps to his name, also had a jibe at Victory who are the club’s traditional rivals.
“I don’t believe they’re a bigger club than us,” Gulum said.
“Maybe they’ve got a bigger support base than us, as they’re located in Melbourne.
“But at the end of the day, it’s football, it starts and finishes on the park.
“I know there’s been big games between Adelaide and Melbourne which is good.
“For the players, it’s always an extra boost of confidence and excitement. I think it’s going to be a big derby game.”