New signing Ruben Zadkovich believes Perth Glory have moved on from the turmoil which engulfed the club last season and are well on track in their rebuilding process.
Glory endured a 10-match winless streak and finished 10 points outside the top six last season after former coach Alistair Edwards was sacked in December.
But recent changes to the club’s football department and playing roster have generated new optimism.
Zadkovich was lured to Perth on a two-year contract as part of an aggressive off-season recruiting campaign, which has also netted proven A-League players Diogo Ferreira, Dino Djulbic and Youssouf Hersi, and Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh.
Shane Lowry and Richard Garcia have also been targeted as potential recruits.
Former Newcastle Jets captain Zadkovich sees plenty of positive signs for his new club ahead of the 2014-15 A-League season, which begins in October.
“I saw that (turmoil) from afar so I don’t really know the ins and outs of it, but I’m sure there was a lot of football politics going on within the club,” Zadkovich said.
“But from what I can see, you’ve got a CEO, a manager and a whole bunch of players who are really passionate and positive and looking to the future.
“We want to create a winning environment and the only way to do that is to work hard, and that’s what I’ll look to do here.
“I’ll give the shirt off my back for the team and the town, and that’s the only way I know how to play.”
Zadkovich played with high-profile English strikers Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges at Newcastle and said he was eager to link up with Glory’s star signing Keogh, who he met while training with Millwall last year.
“Andy Keogh’s going to be another player who is up there with Heskey and Bridges as far as I’m concerned,” Zadkovich said.
“He’s played for his country and he’s a fantastic international footballer.
“He’s at that perfect age (28) where he’s going to be really good for the A-League.
“Our job as a team will be to make sure that the pressure is not on him. Other people have got to step up and be big and brave around him and give him the service and the support that he’ll need to be successful.”
Glory started their official pre-season training program this week and will have less than two months to prepare for their first competitive match in the new FFA Cup.
“There’s not long to go and I’m sure the boys will be buzzing for it,” Zadkovich said.
“The way we trained on day one was pretty intense so I think the boys are pretty pumped.”