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2009/10 A-League season preview

The 2009/10 A-League season starts next week and for the first time there will five fixtures per round.

There will be two new teams this season, the Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury.

Apart from the number of teams participating in the league, there is also going to be a change to the finals with the top six teams on the ladder now qualifying for the finals compared to four last season.

Like always there has been much manager movement in the off-season. Sydney and Newcastle Jets will have different managers from the ones that finished last season.

Sydney will now be coached by dd whilst the Jets have turned to Culina. Vitezslav Lavicka will experience his first year in the A-League while Culina has had some experience with Sydney.

I don't how much influence Lavicka will have on the team but judging by the pre-season friendlies, the team looks like its getting results but whether that will translate into results its hard to tell.

Culina will take a team that finished bottom of the league last season and try to make sure they at least reach the finals.

There has been some new faces at Jets throughout their Asian campaign and I think these will help Jets avoid finishing last again.

Of the new teams that are coming in, the Gold Coast United have made the most noise especially after their win over Fulham in a pre-season friendly.

They have very good players including Jason Culina and last season's top goal scorer Shane Smeltz.

The Fury's biggest name is former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler but they also have some A-League experienced players like Robbie Middleby, Ufuk Talay and James Robinson.

I think after at least three rounds it will be a little bit clear where these new teams stand.

I will not be surprised to see the Gold Coast outfit reaching the finals at the end of the season. They have set themselves some high standards and the challenge will be to live up to them.

For the rest of the league teams, the defending champions Melbourne Victory have retained most of its squad from last season and should at least be able to reach the finals.

There was a lot of movement in terms of players at Adelaide United and it will be interesting to see how the team will shape now in the new season.

There has also been a lot of activity at Perth Glory and with six teams reaching the finals, this could be the year for the Glory to play beyond the home and away season.

The Wellington Phoenix just missed out on the finals last season and in the off-season they lost the services of the top marksman Smeltz but I still think that last season they went beyond the stage of easy beats. I expect them to hold their own especially at home.

The renamed Brisbane Roar will now find themselves with two state rivals and I think there will added pressure to win those matches against the state rivals as they are the more established side.

I hope for better luck this time with my A-League football tipping on TipsChallenge. I think it will be a bit easier to pick up points each week now that there are five fixtures in each round.

I hope the best team in the season and will go on and win the Grand final.

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