Van 't Schip: The Squad Is Growing

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has praised the efforts of his younger brigade after the side was held to a 0-0 draw by Gold Coast United.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has praised the efforts of his younger brigade after the side was held to a 0-0 draw by Gold Coast United.

With Alex Terra, John Aloisi, Dean Heffernan and Gerald Sibon all absent though injury and suspension, van ‘t Schip reinforced his commitment to promoting youth, recalling Aziz Behich, Nick Kalmar and Eli Babalj.

Van ‘t Schip believes the improvement displayed by the likes of Behich, Kalmar and Babalj highlights the level of depth present in the Heart squad, raising competition for first team selection.

“I have to give a compliment to all the boys, and also of course, to those who came in and hadn-t played many games until now,” he said.

“I-m very happy with that. It-s also good to see the squad in total is growing and we get more depth with these types of players getting in.

“I think Eli Babalj did really well up. He showed he was there for 90 minutes and helped the team a lot. If he can grow and train with us over the coming weeks he will get stronger, and for sure, we are going to see him more this season.”

Van ‘t Schip is likely to call upon Heart-s youthful core again in Newcastle, with Alex Terra and John Aloisi doubtful.

However, one man set to make a return to the starting line-up is creative fulcrum Gerald Sibon after serving a two-match ban.

“There a number of games ahead of us and we are not going to take risks with players who have problems, which is why John Aloisi and Dean Heffernan didn-t play,” he said.

“I don-t think John is going to be available next week. We have scheduled a different type of program for him with treatment he needs. Alex Terra will be doubtful but hopefully he and Dean will be ready in time for Newcastle so we have two players back.

“We also get Gerald back after his suspension so we have a little bit more choice for the coming game.”