If the #MagicOfTheCup has taught us anything, it’s that Hyundai A-League clubs must be at their best to defeat an in form NPL opponent.
Ahead of Tuesday’s FFA Cup Quarter Final, Central Coast Mariners’ Head Coach Alen Stajcic says that his side will be showing Hume City the respect they deserve.
Thanks to a gutsy 120-minute-performance and a picture-perfect penalty shoot-out, the Mariners’ sealed their first win over Brisbane Roar since April 2014, securing a spot in the FFA Cup Quarter Finals for the first time in five years.
But Staj, as he is affectionately known, understands that the win is just one small step towards their ultimate goal: restoring pride in the Mariners’ badge.
The result triggered raptures in Redcliffe like Mariners supporters had not seen for some time and glimpses in the performance that may suggest that the Mariners are a renewed proposition under Stajcic.
Indeed, the Mariners mentor agrees there were plenty of positives to be taken from the performance, he was quick to emphasise that no-one at the club was getting ahead of themselves.
“The FFA Cup win over Brisbane certainly does help the confidence,” Stajcic told the FFA Cup website.
“But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves. It’s just one win, one step on the road to rebuilding the confidence around this club and the belief that the players have in themselves.
He added: “Whilst we’re happy with the win and pleased with our performance, we certainly know that there’s a long way to go and a lot to improve on".
In Mariners team news, Stajcic may have some selection headaches ahead of him.
Both Giancarlo Gallifuoco & Ruon Tongyik were ineligible to face Brisbane in the Round of 16 due to injury, however both featured in the travelling party for team’s Pre-Season trip to Tasmania and could be in contention to face Hume at ABD Stadium.
The next hurdle now awaits: Hume City in the FFA Cup Quarter Finals.
Despite being away from home to an unfamiliar opponent, the trip to Victoria offers another invaluable opportunity to go into camp, build on team morale and write the next chapter of a fast-growing Mariners narrative.
Fresh from finals football in Victoria’s National Premier League, Hume City boast an impressive line-up. Stajcic says his side will not be taking them lightly.
“Every match for us is important,” Stajcic said.
“Every friendly, every FFA Cup game, every A-League game, we’re treating them all the same.
“We’re really excited that we’ve progressed this far and it’s certainly a tough challenge. Hume have been a strong team in the Victorian NPL for a number of years and we won’t underestimate them."
One player who will be keen to build on his impressive pre-season form is Mariners’ attacker Tommy Oar.
After striking in the club’s most recent pre-season trial, Oar says the interstate trips are forming a crucial part of the Mariners’ pre-season ahead of a tough Quarter Final fixture.
“The pre-season trips have been a fantastic chance for us all to bond together – we’ve got a lot of new players this season, so from that point of view it has been very constructive,” Oar said.
“We know how tough the game is going to be on Tuesday. They’ve reached this stage of the competition for a reason; we’ve analysed them and we know what to expect coming into this game but the focus is always on us. We know that if we can play to our capabilities that we can get the result. The boys are really pumped for it.
“We’ve got a good blend of experienced players and young ones coming through, we know that to win matches, not just in the FFA Cup but during the season, we need every player to contribute and when a player gets their chance to play, they need to take that opportunity with both hands."
The Central Coast Mariners face Hume City in an FFA Cup Quarter Final from 7:30pm AEST on Tuesday night.
You can also follow all the action on twitter using the hashtags #FFACup #MagicOfTheCup