Mark Milligan says Melbourne Victory will welcome departing Brisbane Roar star Besart Berisha with open arms next season, but when he arrives the striker could still be nursing a few bruises from Sunday's A-League semi-final.
Berisha will become Victory's international marquee player in 2014-15 following three stellar campaigns in Queensland.
On Sunday evening the two clubs meet in an eagerly anticipated clash at Suncorp Stadium, with a place in the grand final at stake.
And according to Victory captain Milligan, there is no chance of the Albanian marksman being given an easy ride by his future team-mates.
"I don't think any of our centre-backs are going to hold back if they get the chance," he said.
"He's the same, he's very passionate. He's obviously a big part of what they do and the way that they play. He's shown on the field he's very passionate about the way goes about things, so he's going to be wanting to win as much as our boys.
"I'm sure no matter what happens this weekend it'll all be hugs and kisses next year."
The signing of Berisha was announced on January 22, sandwiched between 5-0 defeats for Victory away to Wellington Phoenix and at home to Sydney FC.
Milligan was sorely missed in both games as he recovered from knee surgery, and it seems news of Berisha's impending arrival made little impact on a team scrapping to get their season back on track.
Asked what was made of the deal among the squad at the time, the captain said: "Not a great deal to be honest."
"People change teams and move on. When it happened we had our own things going on here, we were quite focused on all of that obviously."
"It's a very good signing. He's an excellent striker and has probably been the form striker of the league over the last few seasons. When you can get someone like that it's a massive boost.
"But we're extremely focused on this season, the firepower we have at the moment and making sure everyone is ready (for Sunday)."comments