On-loan forward Nathan Burns has revealed he is looking forward to seeing what he can do with the Newcastle Jets just as much as the club's fans are after almost two years out with injury.
Burns signed with the Jets in July, on loan from K-League club Incheon United, and has returned to the A-League, where he made his name with Adelaide United, to get much-needed game-time.
The intermittent Australia international, who has played seven times for the Socceroos, cannot wait to get on the pitch when Newcastle kick off their 2013-14 campaign on October 11, as he believes the team have some of the most exciting youngsters in the A-League.
Since the start of 2012, Burns has only played four games due to a long battle with a serious knee injury, while he could not break into Incheon's side when he regained fitness due to the club's good form in South Korea.
Burns played in the Jets' pre-season friendly against Sydney Olympic on Tuesday night and scored the first goal in his new club's 3-0 win, but the 25-year-old Australian has maintained he does not know what he can produce in the season proper after such a long period on the sidelines.
"We'll see, to be honest, I'm looking forward to watch myself play because I haven't played in over a year now in an official match," Burns told Goal Australia.
"So, who knows what can happen? It'll be interesting.
"I'm also looking forward to seeing what I can do myself because I have been training well but a game is completely different.
"So, you know, I can't really tell you what to expect because I don't know myself, what I can push myself to this year."
Burns' excitement for the new season has increased since he started training with the Jets as he has been stunned by the maturity of head coach Gary van Egmond's brigade of youngsters.
Craig Goodwin, Connor Chapman, Joshua Brillante, James Virgili and Adam Taggart [who are all 21 or younger] played plenty of matches last season, which Burns watched over the internet, and the former AEK man believes 'they look like senior players now'.
The man born in Orange, NSW, has been particularly impressed by Taggart, who reminds Burns of himself during his time with Adelaide.
"I can see a lot in his game that I used to do very similarly," Burns said of Taggart.
"So he'll definitely have a great future. Technically, he's brilliant. Physically, he's pretty strong.
"So if he stays fit, he'll definitely have a good couple of years ahead of him."
Burns left Australia at the start of the 2008-09 season when he joined AEK Athens in the Greek Super League.
In three seasons in Greece, Burns played 38 matches for AEK and another 31 in the Greek second tier for Kerkyra during the 2009-10 campaign, when he helped the Corfu-based club gain promotion.
But in the lead-up to the 2011-12 season, the global financial crisis hit Greece in general, and AEK in particular, and Burns had to leave.
"Basically the country went bust and they [AEK] went bankrupt and I had to break my contract," Burns said.
"So I had one year left but they didn't pay the players for five, six months, so unfortunately I had to leave the club and the majority of the players left."
Burns quickly signed with Incheon but that move never got going, although the slightly-built forward is convinced he got a lot out of the experience.
"You could say, Korea, for me, was not very successful on the field but I think I took so much from off the field," Burns said.
"The training, their style of play, I think I learnt a lot as a player and to be able to survive in Korea for a year and a half, being injured, I think was probably my hardest challenge, mentally.
"And to get through it was a great achievement, just in itself."
The next challenge for Burns is to prove he still has what it takes to make in impact in the A-League, with the Jets set to benefit from his determination.