Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill is primed for a big season with Melbourne City.
Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill is primed for a big season with Melbourne City. MAL FAIRCLOUGH

Cahill hints he will keep going for City

FOOTBALL: Tim Cahill has revealed that retirement plans could be postponed and declared Asian qualification was a must for Melbourne City on the eve of the A-League season.

The Socceroos' leading goalscorer joined Melbourne City last season on a three-year deal, with a two-year playing contract expected to morph into a coaching role in 2018-19.

He may be turning 38 in December but Cahill, who will miss Round 1 of the A-League as he and the Socceroos navigate the World Cup playoffs, dropped the strongest hint yet that this may not be his final season.

"Way too early (to call it his last season), with the way my body is and the way that I'm feeling, I'm concentrating on the 27 games this year,” Cahill said.

"Last season I was injured for pretty much 40 percent of the season and I played 23 (games) plus internationals.

"This year I've upped my running data and really pushed myself that I'm going to have a better year fitness-wise.

"It's been a great eight-week pre-season and I have not missed a day of training or pulled out of sessions.

"We've set out a plan and it's all about playing. That's why it frustrates me missing the start of the season, if selected (for Australia).”

Cahill will miss the opening round of the A-League season as he and the Socceroos face Syria in the World Cup playoff.

He said City's lower profile heading into this season was by design, but said securing an Asian Champions League spot was a pass mark.

"We have to be looking for Asia, that (missing out) was the biggest disappointment for me,” he said.

"I wouldn't be as ambitious saying we'll win everything. There's a lot of new players and a new manager and we've got to adapt as soon as we can. Now we're out of the Cup, the total focus is looking for an Asian spot.”

Cahill said City, which hosts Brisbane Roar in Round 1 on October 6, had learnt lessons from the disappointing 2-0 FFA Cup loss at Sydney FC.

"The FFA Cup was a disappointment. That's something we have to put right pretty quickly,” he said.

"It wasn't good enough and it needs to be rectified, which will happen in the next few weeks.”