Brisbane Roar import Mensur Kurtishi will get a full 90 minute hit-out as part of a unique pre-season doubleheader on Friday night.
Don’t call Albanian striker Mensur Kurtishi the Brisbane Roar’s next Besart Berisha.
It may have been the well worn line Mike Mulvey stuck to on Thursday but the Roar coach will get his best indication yet of how Kurtishi will fare following in Berisha’s footsteps during Friday night’s unique double header trial in Brisbane.
Kurtishi has already turned heads with impressive cameos since signing a one-year deal in July.
But the former Macedonian international will be able to strut his stuff in earnest when he receives a full 90 minute stint against A-League foes Central Coast Mariners before a Roar B team takes on the National Premier League’s Brisbane City at Ballymore.
Berisha’s defection to Melbourne Victory in the off-season left a huge void for the defending A-League champions to fill.
And Mulvey again went to great pains to avoid comparisons between Kurtishi and fellow Albanian Berisha on Thursday.
Still, Mulvey has liked what he has seen to date from his import.
“Mensur has probably one of the sweetest touches on the ball of any player I have seen,” he said.
“But as I have said many times we didn’t bring him in here as a replacement for Besart.
“We brought him in as an addition to the squad and he has mixed in well with the boys.”
Kurtishi made Roar fans sit up and take notice when he grabbed a hat-trick in Brisbane’s 5-1 win over Northern Fury in the recent Townsville Football Cup in north Queensland.
But Mulvey said the club gained more from their 2-0 final loss to Sydney FC in the same tournament as they prepare to launch their A-League title defence on October 12 against Adelaide United.
“It made us say ‘let’s wake up to ourselves, we need to start working harder’,” he said.
“That week in Townsville was educational in terms of where the team and individuals were at and we have worked extremely hard since our return.”
Mulvey said he would not risk captain Matt Smith, Shane Stefanutto, Thomas Broich or Matt McKay on Friday night as they rested niggles.
It will be a timely warm-up for the Mariners four nights before their FFA Cup tie against Olympic FC in Brisbane.