Melbourne Knights coach Andrew Marth concedes he is wary of Olympic FC's potency up front ahead of Tuesday night's FFA Cup clash but believes his team can hurt the Queenslanders on the counter-attack.
The Knights will return to the national stage for the first time in just under 10-and-a-half years when they meet Olympic at Goodwin Park in the round of 32 of the FFA Cup, and it will be a special day for Marth, who was part of the two NSL-winning teams at the club.
For a full preview of tonight’s game head here http://www.theffacup.com.au/article/westfield-ffa-cup-preview/19zer7ri85zms1f3ty83s4b3cw
Marth has done all he can to prepare for this historic day in the Knights' history with Melbourne City assistant coach Luciano Trani and the online coverage of NPL Queensland proving to be invaluable resources.
"A good mate of mine, who was my assistant at Melbourne Knights some time ago - Luciano Trani - was at (Brisbane) Roar, as their assistant coach last year and they used (Olympic FC's) facilities quite a bit," Marth told theffacup.com.au .
"And I spoke to him about two weeks ago and he told me how they play and their set-up and, obviously, I've watched the YouTube footage, so I'm expecting a very, very difficult game."
Already Marth has identified the strength of the double-winners from last season's NPL Queensland.
Olympic scored 90 goals in 22 games on their way to the premiership and championship last season, while they have notched 55 in 20 so far in 2014.
"I think going forward, they look pretty potent," Marth said.
"So we'll probably sit back and just catch them on the counter and hopefully utilise our speed and our quality up front."
Olympic sit second in Queensland, while in NPL Victoria, Marth's men are ninth after an injury curse ruined their first half of the campaign.
"We probably lost in the course of about five weeks, we lost we seven of our starting XI from last year," Marth explains.
The Knights lost seven league games in a row from the start of April but have been one of the form teams in Victoria since knocking off South Melbourne 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the Dockerty Cup to reach the inaugural FFA Cup.
That win over their arch-rivals was one of five in their past seven games in all competitions with the Somers St outfit's only defeat in that period coming against South Melbourne in the league a fortnight ago.
The change in form has coincided with the return to fitness of a couple of senior players - including the 2013 Victorian Premier League player of the year Marijan Cvitkovic - and the arrival of three new signings.
Stipo Andrijasevic, Michael Doyle and Jordan O'Doherty joined in the mid-season transfer window.
Andrijasevic moved south from Goulburn Valley Suns and has been vital up front, scoring three times in five games in all competitions and setting up both goals in the Knights' FFA Cup qualifier.
The former Melbourne Heart youth player failed to score during his time with the Suns but has relished the support Marth has given him.
"At Goulburn Valley I was playing in a lot of different positions. Playing out on the wings and even in the midfield, a bit at centre-back and occasionally up front and it was hard to get going because I was always swapping and changing positions," Andrijasevic said.
"So I never really had a set position where I could play week in, week out, and at Melbourne Knights I've come in and 'Stabba' (Marth) has given me a job to do. I'm playing up front and playing with confidence and I think that's the main thing that's changed since I've come to Melbourne Knights."
Marth's other two signings came from Adelaide Raiders and the 45-year-old has been particularly impressed by 16-year-old winger O'Doherty, who played 45 minutes on trial with Melbourne Victory last week.
"He's very hungry. He wants football to be his main source of income and he wants to get the highest level as quick as possible and I firmly believe he's doing the right things," Marth said.