Vrankovic aiming for strong start

Goal scoring might not be - historically at least - David Vrankovic’s forte, but the young Melbourne Heart FC defender hopes to score more.

Melbourne Heart FC defender David Vrankovic (centre) embraces captain Harry Kewell (left) and trialist Brent McGrath after his first goal for the Club. Photo Courtesy Live Pixel

Goal scoring might not be - historically at least - David Vrankovic-s forte, but the young Melbourne Heart FC defender hopes to score more and concede few during his second campaign with the Red and White.

Vrankovic, 19, headed home his first goal in Red and White - which proved the winner in Melbourne Heart-s 1-0 pre-season friendly win over Oakleigh Cannons on Wednesday evening - and said he was relieved to have finally found the back of the net.

While in pre-season fixtures the score-line often comes second to structural and tactical priorities, Vrankovic's goal has whetted the youngster-s appetite for more - even though, as a central defender, goal scoring is neither his specialty, nor priority.

“It was good to get the first goal, I-ve been waiting all season for it and it-s come at a good time - just before the season starts,” Vrankovic told melbourneheartfc.com.au.

Vrankovic-s goal came in the 75th minute in the win over Oakleigh - Melbourne Heart-s fourth win out of five pre-season matches - when the teenager was the first to react to an Iain Ramsay corner.

Click play on the video below to watch highlights of the match against Oakleigh, including Vrankovic's goal. Highlights courtesy of MFootball

“I just got my head onto the ball first and it was good to direct it into the back of the net,” Vrankovic said.

Vrankovic, who was partnered with Patrick Gerhardt for the majority of the match until Gerhardt was pushed into the midfield in the second half, believes that Melbourne Heart-s defensive structure is well placed heading into the Hyundai A-League 2013-14 season.

“I think it-s working - we were unfortunate to concede against Brisbane Roar, but I think we still have a bit of time to improve and to get it right before the start of the season,” Vrankovic said.

As for the pre-season, Vrankovic indicated that Head Coach John Aloisi has built the players- fitness up through a high-intensity off-season.

“It hasn-t been easy - but I can definitely say it-s going really well,” Vrankovic said.

“The boys all look in good shape and definitely prepared to have a good season.

“I think this is the best pre-season we-ve had so far and I-m definitely fitter than last year at this stage and hopefully I can keep getting fitter and keep improving.”

Melbourne Heart-s next pre-season challenge will be against Hyundai A-League opponent Perth Glory in Ingelwood on Wednesday 11 September and the Red and White will face the same opponent three days later in Mandurah.

Melbourne Heart has kept three clean sheets in pre-season and Vrankovic believes keeping the back line solid and scoreless against Perth would be a top priority.

“I-m looking forward to playing in the games - it-s good to get two good games against A-League opposition in one week and that will definitely test the boys to see how prepared we are, mentally and physically, for the season,” Vrankovic said.