Western United’s Isuzu UTE A-League Men season kicks off against Melbourne City on Saturday night and John Aloisi could hand out a number of Green and Black debuts.
Naming his 20-man extended squad for the clash, Aloisi will unleash his new-look Western United team featuring a host of young and entertaining recruits.
Chief among them is Daniel Penha, with the Brazilian poised to terrorise Isuzu UTE A-League defences once again.
After working tirelessly to build his fitness during pre-season, Penha is ready to go and has featured prominently in United’s latest friendlies.
Penha’s former Newcastle Jets teammate Angus Thurgate will also hope to shine as he looks to make his own Western United debut.
The 23-year-old has developed into one of the league’s premier midfielders, and both he and Aloisi will be eager for that form to continue in new colours this season.
Riku Danzaki is also in line for a Western United debut, as are James Donachie, Kane Vidmar and goalkeepers Tom Heward-Belle and Matt Sutton.
One new arrival who won’t make his Western United bow is Nikita Rukavytsya, with the Socceroos striker still developing his match fitness after joining the Club at the end of last month.
Having made his first two senior appearances in the Australia Cup, Matthew Grimaldi is included in the extended squad and will be out to make an Isuzu UTE A-League teamsheet for the first time.
Josh Risdon will lead the team as Western United captain for the first time after he was officially confirmed in the role earlier this week. Vice-captains Steven Lustica and Tomoki Imai join Risdon and Sebastian Pasquali in continuing for a fifth straight season at the Club.
The squad is in and all is set for a blockbuster season opener against Melbourne City, with Aloisi and his Western United side eager to get off to the best possible start.
Full Western United extended squad
Western United squad: 1. Tom HEWARD-BELLE (gk), 4. James DONACHIE, 6. Tomoki IMAI, 7. Ramy NAJJARINE, 8. Lachie WALES, 9. Michael RUHS, 10. Steven LUSTICA, 11. Daniel PENHA, 17. Ben GARUCCIO, 19. Josh RISDON, 21. Sebastian PASQUALI, 22. Kane VIDMAR, 24. Connor O’TOOLE, 27. Jacob TRATT, 32. Angus THURGATE, 33. Matt SUTTON, 38. Noah BOTIC, 39. Matthew GRIMALDI, 42. Rhys BOZINOVSKI, 77. Riku DANZAKI
Isuzu UTE A-League Men Round 1
Melbourne City vs Western United
Saturday, 21 October
Kick-off: 5:30pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Broadcast: The match will be broadcast live on Paramount+