MARQUEE man Josip Skoko is no stranger to long road trips after his spell in Croatia prepared him for Melbourne Heart's current marathon.
Heart are in the middle of sightseeing epic with a lengthy coach tour of northern New South Wales to play Newcastle Jets in Port Macquarie last week, followed by last weekend's visit to Perth.
This weekend's it's another redeye long haul up to Townsville to face North Queensland Fury - but Skoko says he can cope after his experiences in Europe with Hadjuk Split last season.
"We did some pretty tough trips even in Croatia with the bus," said Skoko after training today. "You might not be flying, but we did trips where you had to fly probably 500kms then bus 500kms, and it's taken even longer than it did to travel to Perth.
"We had some tough trips over there which took it out of you. I remember one time we played a game, we travelled up on plane and bus, and we had a bad result and the president just said ‘Off you go, all the way back by bus.’
"It was around midnight then so we got back at around 7 in the morning. Safe to say we won the next one!"
Despite the long slog, the squad have managed to take home points from their epic journey and Skoko feels it has helped the side to finally gel.
"It hasn’t been too bad," he said. "It has been very hectic and I think it’s full credit to the club and the way we’ve been organised.
"Port Macquarie was a last minute thing and the way that they’ve handled it has been really good. The boys got on with it and we got a couple of results, and hopefully we’ve got another one coming.
"It’s helped us definitely to get to know each other a bit, and it gives us time when we are away to speak with coaches and talk about things we usually don’t have time to."
He added: "We can only get better. This first six to eight weeks of the season, we aren’t going to repeat that again, and that gives us confidence.
"We haven’t improved all of a sudden, it’s been bit by bit. We’re just taking slow steps and hopefully we can keep improving as we go.
"Hopefully we can peak at the right time, get into the finals and have a good run there."