Adrian Leijer will try to force his way into Fulham’s first team next season after earning praise from the Cottagers’ reserve coach.

The young Olyroo defender made the Fulham bench three times last year but failed to get any game time following his switch from Melbourne Victory.

Despite not figuring for Roy Hodgson’s side in their great escape it seems Leijer is very much part of the plan for 2008/9.

Reserve team boss Billy McKinlay said “Next season I’ll be looking for him to certainly make an impact in the first team squad.

“He should be aiming to play games for us and certainly contribute to a successful season for the club. He is more than capable of doing that.

“We’re really pleased with the way he’s come in and adapted to the football in this part of the world. In terms of his performances, he’s done very well and he’s made an impact in the first team squad by being on the bench a few times.

He added: “He’s a joy to work with. He comes in, gives it his best and works hard. He’s willing to listen and learn and we have high hopes.

“I think he has all the attributes to do well in the English game because he’s aggressive, physical and he’s quite prepared to handle that side of the game.

“Coming to Fulham from Australia was always going to be a big move for him but mentally he’s adapted very well – especially considering he’s been flying back and forth because of the Olympic squad.

“I know what I’m going to get with Adrian -a good, reliable performance. More often than not he is dominant, aggressive and leads by example at the back and he certainly sets a good standard for everybody about him.

“You know exactly what you’re going to get with Adrian when he’s on the pitch which is, ultimately, all you can ask for as a manager.”

Leijer may have to wait for some Fulham action though as Olympic duties will delay his start to the Cottagers’ season.