Heart say A-League away horrors history
Melbourne Heart coach John Aloisi believes a radical overhaul of his A-League squad has consigned last season's terrible away record to history.
The Heart gained just one point from 12 games outside Melbourne in Aloisi's first season in charge, finishing second last.
It prompted a major clean-out, with veterans Fred, Matt Thompson, Simon Colosimo, Clint Bolton, Jamie Coyne and Richard Garcia among those to have left.
"We had to improve on last season because there were times that we played really well, but there were other times away from home that we didn't get results that we wanted," Aloisi told AAP.
"So we decided to move on quite a few of our experienced players."
The highest-profile replacement is Harry Kewell, but Aloisi is also excited about what the likes of experienced defender Patrick Kisnorbo, Maltese international striker Michael Mifsud, among a host of recruits, plus fit-again youngster Mate Dugandzic can achieve.
Aloisi said the revamp meant problems of last season, such as the away record, didn't need to be directly addressed.
"Half of our squad is different and the players that we've brought in like Patrick Kisnorbo, (Dutchman) Rob Wielaert, Harry - they're not going to shy away from a hard away trip," Aloisi said.
"They actually thrive on that."
Aloisi believes his squad now has the versatility to succeed playing varying styles at home and away, as needed.
He said Mifsud's pace complemented that of Dugandzic, Golgol Mebrahtu and Dave Williams, making the Heart's speed on the counterattack a weapon, which would be particularly handy away.
Aloisi believes his side can handle a slower, possession-style game equally well.
"We've got players like Harry, Andrea Migliorini the Italian boy, Massimo Murdocca - they're all good on the ball," Aloisi said.
"So we can play whatever the game sort of pans out to be."
The Heart start their season with Saturday night's Etihad Stadium derby against Melbourne Victory.
Their 2-1 win over the Victory in the corresponding fixture last season proved the only away triumph of that campaign.
"We're sure it's going to be a tough game but these derbies are always tough," Aloisi said.
The Heart will be without Mifsud, on international duty, with Victory skipper Mark Milligan missing for the same reason.