Early A-League match for Dutch import
Former Netherlands under-21 striker Stef Nijland will attempt to shake off jet-lag to make a shock Roar debut against Central Coast on Friday night — just 37 hours after flying into Brisbane.
Roar coach Mike Mulvey wants to unleash his latest recruit, signed on a loan deal from PSV Eindhoven, immediately as a creative forward who can complement inconsistent golden boot Besart Berisha.
And Nijland, who had never heard of Brisbane until a week ago, is hungry to play at Suncorp Stadium despite his 27-hour trip across the globe.
The 187cm playmaker trained with the Roar this morning, just hours after arriving at Brisbane Airport at 6am.
His last match was last Friday for the PSV reserves on a snow-capped pitch and he’s left his partner and four-month old son behind to reinvigorate his career.
Mulvey wants the battling defending champions to ‘‘put on a show’’ against the A-League leaders and believes Nijland has the determination and professionalism to play a part.
‘‘One thing I do know is he wants to play — he’s keen,’’ Mulvey said.
‘‘If you play at a big club like PSV that brings an aura and confidence that will rub off on our players.’’
Nijland played for Holland at under 19, 20 and 21 level, but has struggled to get recent first team time at PSV.
‘‘I think I’m a good technical player, I like to play the number 10 and that’s one of the biggest reasons for coming here,’’ he said.
‘‘I hope I can play as much as possible — it would be difficult to start but I’d like to get some minutes.’’
He won’t be the only new recruit to debut for the Roar with Socceroo Jade North replacing youngster James Donachie to team with Matt Jurman in central defence.
North was signed from Japan three weeks ago but has had to build up his fitness.
Former Gold Coast United midfielder Steve Lustica could also make his first appearance while Berisha and Shane Stefanutto will return from suspension.
Mulvey is excited by his string of reinforcements but is well aware the Mariners, who have lost just two matches this season, are an intimidating force.
‘‘They are consistent, ruthless and very methodical and we’ll be paying them the utmost respect,’’ he said.
‘‘But this is our home turf and I expect us to take the game to them and put on a show and we want to take the three points off them.’’
Former Roar winger Nick Fitzgerald will be rested due to a gentleman’s agreement between the two clubs while the Mariners will also be without Pedj Bojic (hip) and Nick Montgomery (suspended).