Star Sydney FC recruit Alessandro Del Piero is set to make his highly-anticipated A-League debut on Saturday with coach Ian Crook confirming the Italian will travel to Wellington for their opening clash against the Phoenix.
The 37-year-old former Juventus striker arrived in Sydney less than three weeks ago but has already impressed in training and Crook was happy to name him in the squad of 15 for the Westpac Stadium clash.
"Alessandro will certainly come with us," Crook confirmed on Thursday.
"He got through today's session and everything OK so he'll certainly come with us."
Crook admits the lack of match practice and pre-season training Del Piero has had ahead of the opening round is not ideal but says ensuring the Azzurri legend's longevity is more important.
"We would have loved to have another week, two weeks or three weeks, but that isn't the situation," Crook said.
"I think we're going to have to play it pretty smart as well.
"We've said all along it's a long-term project, he's not here on a short guest stint.
"But we feel he's got enough quality to be able to give us something different."
Meanwhile, Crook is delighted by Brett Emerton's progress, with the Socceroos stalwart also expected to make the trip to New Zealand.
The 33-year-old has recovered from ankle surgery and Crook hopes he will be a regular presence throughout the campaign.
"Emmo's been great. The operation has been a big success and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing Brett play this year," Crook said.
"He's always been a fairly natural athlete.
"He hasn't had as much game time as the other boys, but the type of individual he is - he's been a player for a long time now - he knows what he needs to do to get himself right.
"What we've seen in the previous week, he's been great."