Perth Glory recruit Ruben Zadkovich will be a nervous listener when his new teammates take on former club Newcastle Jets in the FFA Cup round of 32 in Newcastle tonight.
Zadkovich made 97 appearances in four seasons with Newcastle after a three-year spell with Sydney FC.
But he cut his existing Jets contract a year short, opting to accept the security a two-year deal with Glory in June.
The 28-year-old midfielder had a minor knee operation last month, which has curtailed his bid to play in Glory’s historic first FFA Cup tie tonight.
Instead Zadkovich will be listening to the match on the radio and following updates via social media.
“There was a part of me deep down that knew Glory would draw Newcastle in the inaugural FFA Cup,” Zadkovich told the Glory’s website.
“I could feel it. The script was written perfectly. Unfortunately for me, my body missed the cue.
“I will miss Tuesday night’s match due to my current knee niggles.
“I am gutted that I'm not able to take the field alongside my teammates.
“They are the ones that have been working extremely hard in pre-season thus far and inspiring me to work as hard as I can to get back on the park as quickly as possible.
“I’m genuinely excited to see how my new teammates perform against my old club.”
Zadkovich is one of eight new faces in a reinvigorated Glory squad this season under Kenny Lowe, who was handed the reins as coach on a permanent basis in April.
Zadkovich joins fellow experienced A-League players Youssouf Hersi, Richard Garcia, Diogo Ferreira, Dino Djulbic and Mitch Nichols in the squad, which has also been boosted by the arrival of Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh and Young Socceroos goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell.
The influx of new players has the club in a buoyant mood ahead of the new season.
“We know on paper we have a very talented squad, full of people with that winning mentality,” Zadkovich said.
“It is now up to us to turn our talent, desire and hunger for success into more than just words.
“I have every faith in my teammates that they can start that in Newcastle tonight.
“Whatever the result, we will give our all and try to set a tone for what our playing group represents.”
Glory said today Zadkovich is expected back in four weeks' time.
Glory’s A-League season opener is away to Wellington Phoenix on October 12.