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Kewell closing in on quick Heart debut

The day after his two former clubs clash at the MCG in front of a sellout 90,000 crowd, Harry Kewell is set to make a far lower-key Melbourne Heart debut in regional Victoria.

Kewell is on track to play in the Heart's first pre-season friendly in Shepparton on July 25 against a Goulburn North-East All-Stars side.

While coach John Aloisi will have the final say, noises from the club suggest Kewell is almost certain to play.

The 34-year-old has impressed all at Heart with his efforts at training in his two weeks at the club, and also needs match practice after playing just three games in the past year.

Kewell admits the early pre-season training has been tough as the Heart build up to an A-League opener against his former club Melbourne Victory on October 12.

"It's tough, they've really put me through my paces," Kewell told the Heart's web site on Wednesday.

"Of course I'm looking forward to (the season), especially the first game.

"The team's all excited about it, but we do have to conserve our energy because there's a long way to go. It's a big pre-season."

Should Kewell play at Shepparton's McEwen Reserve, it will be just 24 hours after Victory's match against another of Kewell's former clubs, English giants Liverpool.

The Socceroo said he was enjoying life at his new club, believing the rejigged Heart can perform well this season.

Kewell, Dutch centre-back Rob Wielaert, former Adelaide United winger Iain Ramsay and ex-Roar midfielder Massimo Murdocca head the club's new signings.

"I'm enjoying it. There is a good strong core here and the players have welcomed me with open arms and it's exciting to be here at the moment because Melbourne Heart are building something," Kewell said.

Aloisi and assistant coach Hayden Foxe are currently in England undertaking a UEFA coaching course, and will return next week when a decision will be made on playing Kewell in Shepparton.

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