EXCLUSIVE: Victory skipper Kevin Muscat will embrace Melbourne's imminent status as a two-team town and insists competition should not be something to fear.
At Monday's A-League season launch in Sydney FFA CEO Ben Buckley confirmed Melbourne Heart would become the competition's 11th club with a decision on the 12th team to be made at the end of August.
"All of that augurs well for the growth of the competition and we look forward to those new teams, new coaches, new players coming in and truly making an impact," said Buckley
Melbourne Heart will kick off in 2010/11 and Muscat is relishing the chance to face a cross-city rival at last.
"I embrace it. Why not?" Muscat told au.fourfourtwo.com. "There are areas where we are trying to improve as a football club.
"Competition will improve the landscape of the football club and the football team enormously. I'm looking forward to having a meaningful local derby against a club who will come in with great ambition."
Muscat was one of the first overseas players to return to Australia as the A-League took its first steps.
Pointing to some of the faces like Robbie Fowler and Jason Culina at the season launch, Muscat said he was delighted with the progress being made and he expected it to continue.
"It's obvious that the competition has taken massive strides, all in the right direction I might add," he said. "This season has seen everyone improve their squads, we travel into the unknown to an extent with the two new clubs and there is a sense of excitement.
"There's been some high profile players come in and in my view, the Socceroo boys and Robbie Fowler have all said they want to add their bit to a growing competition and a growing football family.
"The calibre of these signings and qualifying for the World Cup again is all going to push football in this country to a new level. As I said, so many positives and nothing surprises me anymore."
As for his own side, Melbourne's ability to retain the bulk of their championship squad is a big plus and big change from the last time they lifted the toilet seat.
He added: "We lost quite a large percentage of our squad last time we won the league and it took us a long time to recover from that.
"This time hopefully it will hold us in good stead that we've retained most of the boys."