Vince Grella's arrival at Melbourne Heart will come too late for him to make a physical impression against Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday.
But Glory's Nick Ward has little doubt the Socceroos midfielder's presence will already be rubbing off on the Heart ranks he is soon to join.
Just as Ward is feeding off the energy created by competition for places at Glory, he expects Grella's arrival to have Heart players pumping.
"Everyone knows what he's about," Ward said of the 33-year-old former Blackburn Rovers and Parma midfielder, who will join his new teammates next week.
"He's had a tough run with injuries but he's a proven performer. I trained with him a few times when I was overseas and we were in Socceroos camps.
"When he's at the top of his game, he's a cut above everyone else. He moves the ball well and you don't get a chance to get near him.
"He's a great player and it's a great pick-up for Heart."
Glory will have the bonus of taking on a Heart side without defender Simon Colosimo, who was sent off for handling the ball in last weekend's draw against Wellington Phoenix, while striker Shane Smeltz is expected to be back from international duties for the Kiwis.
Ward, who has performed well in substitute appearances in the first two games of the season, hopes he can create another selection issue for coach Ian Ferguson by pushing his own case for a starting berth.
"Everyone wants to start but if he needs me to come off the bench, that's my job and I'll keep trying to add some life to the game," Ward said."The competition for places keeps everyone honest."
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