Former Socceroos' midfielder Jason Culina is feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement as he prepares to make his first A-League appearance in almost two years.
Culina has been cleared to complete a remarkable comeback from a career-threatening knee injury in Sydney FC's clash with Adelaide on Friday.
The midfielder will likely come off the bench at Allianz Stadium and Culina said he was feeling similar nerves to when he was starting his career as a 16-year-old.
"When you miss almost two years or football, those nerves do come back," Culina said.
"I'm sure I'll be nervous tomorrow but, once I step over that white line, I think instinct will kick in.
"I'm just excited. I've dreamt about this for the past two years and finally we're getting there."
Culina has not played since injuring his knee with Gold Coast late in the 2010/11 season.
He broke down again after signing with Newcastle last season and, after two bouts of surgery, admitted there were times he doubted if he would play again.
"You do doubt whether you're going to come back but it comes down to how hard you work and how bad you want it," Culina said.
"I wanted it pretty bad, for myself and the people that were behind me too."
Having been thrown a lifeline by the Sky Blues, Culina plans to make the most of it.
While he's not getting ahead of himself, he still has ambitions to play for the Socceroos again.
But his immediate focus is on Friday's match against the competition frontrunners as Sydney try to snap a worrying three-game losing streak.
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