AT the age of 34 and entering his 17th season as a professional footballer, the pressure starts all over again for Tony Sealy when his new club, Eastern, begin the defence of their Hong Kong championship against South China at Mongkok Stadium this afternoon. Sealy, with a wealth of experience at the highest level in England and in Portugal, is the only new face in the champions' lineup after being signed to replace last season's leading goalscorer, Dale Tempest. And he knows the past will count for nothing when he steps on to the field for a grudge match between the top two sides in the territory that will attract a capacity crowd of 8,500. Sealy, who scored 10 goals for Michelotti last season to earn the move to Eastern in place of Tempest, is under no illusions about the task ahead. ''I accepted there would be pressure on me because it's only natural for people to make comparisons,'' said Sealy, whose career has taken him to Southampton, Crystal Palace, QPR and Leicester City in England and Sporting Lisbon in Portugal. ''But I've never had anything given to me throughout my career and I don't expect that to start happening now. I've always had to graft and work and that's why I'm still around after 17 years. ''I have always got something to prove because if CVs are anything to go by I wouldn't have to put my boots on. Now I have got to prove I am worthy of putting on the Eastern shirt and doing my job for the team. ''I've been at clubs where 35 pros are fighting for 11 places and that's pressure. Now I am going into a Hong Kong derby that will be played at fever pitch and facing another kind of pressure - but I feel I am big enough to carry it.'' Sealy has only 10 days' full training behind him because of a groin strain and admits the big kick-off has come two weeks too early. ''It's been very frustrating because I know I will not be 100 per cent match fit going into the game,'' he said. ''But when you step over that white line you're the same as everyone else and are there to be shot down. It's an occupational hazard.'' Sealy's career has taken in an English League Cup final appearance with Southampton against Nottingham Forest at Wembley, a Lisbon derby for Sporting against Benfica in front of 103,000 fans in the city's Stadium of Light and a European Cup-Winners' Cup quarter-final tie for the Portuguese giants against Atalanta in Bergamo, Italy. But Tempest's achievements with Eastern last season leave Sealy acknowledging: ''It's going to be a hard act to follow.'' TEAMS Eastern: Iain Hesford; Lo Kai-wah, Chiu Chun-ming, Chan Chi-keung, Lee Wai-man; Lee Kin-wo, Tim O'Shea, Tam Siu-wai, Ross Greer; Paul Nixon, Tony Sealy. South China (probable): Allen McKnight; Chan Ping-on, Ku Kam-fai, Dennis Koffyberg, Chan Wai-chiu; Loh Wai-chi, Shum Kwok-pui, Chiu Chung-man, Niels Gerestein; Anto Grabo, Marko Perinovic.