BALLARAT Red Devils will tune up for their inaugural National Premier Leagues campaign with a hit-out against A-League club Melbourne Heart’s youth team next week.
The Reds will travel to meet the Heart boys under lights at Epping Stadium on Tuesday night.
It is likely to be the Ballarat club’s final pre-season match before the NPL season starts in mid March.
Reds player-manager James Robinson said it was an exciting challenge for his players.
“It’s obviously going to be the biggest test so far and that’s what we want. We want to be challenged and want to be playing against the best and see where we are at,” Robinson said.
Robinson said it was likely that new recruit Dane Milovanovic would pull on the boots for his first time in club colours.
A Melbourne Heart spokesperson poured cold water on the possibility of Australian star Marco Bresciano playing in the fixture.
Bresciano has been training with the Heart as he looks to keep fit ahead of a potential World Cup berth.
The 34-year-old is serving a four-month ban by FIFA because of a transfer dispute, which has ruled him out of competitive matches until March.
“No, (Bresciano’s) not going to play in that game. He’s got other commitments in Europe that he will attend, so he won’t take part in that game,” the spokesperson said.
“The game itself was organised a little while ago and basically it allows (our) players to continue playing after the regular season is complete.”
The Heart will finish their National Youth League season with a clash against Central Coast this Sunday.
Meanwhile, fixtures for the NPL season are expected to be released by Football Federation Victoria today.