Melbourne Knights rally new troops

New Melbourne Knights’ striker Kym Harris (battling heavy weather in Hume City red) is an exciting prospect for the new-look Knights. Picture Shawn Smits

Melbourne Knights wasted little time moving on from a disappointing 2016 NPL campaign, signing a swag of new players in anticipation of moving up the ladder in 2017.

After slipping to eighth on the NPL Victoria table last season due to poor form and injuries, the club is ready to start the climb back up this season, Knights’ coach Andrew Marth said.

“I think we lacked experience last season, and that really showed in the last 16 of the FFA Cup,” Marth said.

“We’ve signed some experienced players, who will hold us in good stead. We were really hurt last year, with injury and players taking overseas trips, so I think if we can have a relatively injury and suspension-free season, we should be able to vie for a top-six position, which is our aim at this stage.”

While Ivan Grgic and Jacob Colosimo have left, the Knights have announced some big signings in recent days, with central defender Tomi Fadljevic, strikers Kym Harris and Elvis Kamsoba, winger Danny Dixon, and former A League attacking midfielder Jake Barker-Daish all signing on for 2017.

The club is also hopeful of signing former Melbourne City player Patrick Gerhardt in coming days

This makes for an exciting time for Marth.

“Most of the boys are pretty attacking players,” Marth said.

“We lost a couple of strikers, so we needed to replenish there.

“And we probably lacked a bit of depth in that area last season, so it’s good to have some options now.

“I think Kym Harris is the most exciting of the signings so far. He’s a quality striker, was top goal-scorer in Adelaide two seasons in a row and, coming off a disappointing season at Hume last year where he didn’t get the opportunities, we hope he will score a lot of goals for us.

“Aside from those guys and Gerhardt, I don’t think we’ll sign anyone else … that’s six quality players, so that’s half a team – the rest are good quality players … to have our squad virtually finalised at this time of year is great.”

Marth said he also expected a couple of players from the 2016 under 20 squad to make the step up to the senior side next year.

As well as pushing for a top position on the NPL table, Marth said making it further into the FFA Cup next season, and potentially hosting an A League club, was a big goal for the Knights.

“That’s a big cash cow, if you can get that, and that’s a priority for us, and I’m sure every other side as well,” Marth said.

“As an example, Heidelberg United played against Melbourne City last year and made $300,000 in one night. That’s well over our current budget, so that’d be a handy thing to get for the club.”

Melbourne Knights will begin its pre-season on November 15, with a training camp in mid-December at Echuca.