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Croatian teams look to each other as sparring partners

The Melbourne Knights will continue their preparations for the upcoming Victorian Premier League season in the coming months, with an arranged friendly against Sydney United on the cards.
Confirmed to take place just after the Australia Day holiday on Saturday, 30 January, the match in Sydney will provide a solid hit-out for both the Knights and United, as their respective State competitions approach.
A jovial atmosphere appears certain, with members from both sets of fans delighted with the friendly’s arrangement, as a large contingent of Knights supporters started making their travel arrangements in recent weeks.
A match in Sunshine with Adelaide Raiders is another possible friendly in the works and although the plans are in their infancy, the match is to be scheduled just before the start of the Victorian Premier League season.
The Knights’ management have continued to bolster their squad after starting pre-season training just over a fortnight ago.
With Melvin Becket agreeing to stay at the Knights, Hajduk Split youth player and former AIS captain Ante ?i?ak has agreed to terms at Somers Street, as has former Marsonia and Bundesliga player Ivica Praiz.
It also appears that the Knights are currently in talks with Tommy Ples, who was an influential figure in Toronto Croatia’s run to the semi-finals of this year’s Canadian Soccer League.
United have also looked to build upon their fall at the semi-finals of last season’s NSW Premier League, adding further quality to their already talented squad.
Former APIA Leichhardt player Shane Lyons, Sydney Olympic duo Peter Zorbas and Michael Cindri? and Marconi youngster Sean Mitchell have all joined the ranks at Edensor Park.
IvoBosnar, Mitchell Thompson, Vedran Janjetovi?, Elsid Barkhousir, Ricky Perinich, Roger Galayini, Peter Markovi?, Luka Glavaš, Todd Brodie and Daniel Rezo have all agreed to new deals, giving United the tools for a solid tilt at the title in 2010.

The 2009 Minor Premiers, with David Zdrili? at the helm, will be a tough side to break down for any team in Australia on paper, making the upcoming friendly an accurate barometer for the Knights to see where they are at.
In other news at Somers Street, Football Federation of Victoria has approved the Knights’ logo change.
This week’s return of the logo, used when the Knights were back-to-back NSL champions, has been met with positive feedback from people around the club.

Ante Juki? (CroExpress)

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