Del Piero ready for Australian A-League debut


SYDNEY (AP) -Alessandro Del Piero says he's confident of his fitness ahead of his A-League debut for Sydney FC on Saturday.

The cancellation of two practice matches has limited the former Juventus and Italy star's playing time since his arrival in Australia at the start of a two-year contract.

He played 70 minutes in a club trial last week and said on Tuesday he feels ready for his Sydney debut against Wellington.

"I have to take time with the team but at the moment (my fitness) is good," Del Piero said. "I'm OK for the first match and I want to improve day by day."

Sydney coach Ian Crook was more cautious, saying he wouldn't take any risks with the 37-year-old Del Piero and would delay naming his squad for the opening match until later in the week.

Meanwhile, ex-England striker Emile Heskey may make his A-League debut off the bench for his new club, the Newcastle Jets, against Adelaide United.

Heskey said he was happy to bear the expectations that come with being a star import in a developing league.

"I've dealt with (expectation) from the age of 17," he said. "I've got over all the nerves before, playing for 17-18 years. The first five or six years I got nervous before I played but now I just can't wait to get in and get started."

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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