Western Sydney's goalless start to its A-League existence has been dealt another blow with key striker Dino Kresinger ruled out of Saturday's clash with Brisbane.
Rookie coach Tony Popovic remains confident the goals will materialise if his squad continues to improve as they have done over the opening month of competition.
But should they fail to find the net at Suncorp Stadium against the back-to-back reigning champion, the Wanderers will equal the unenviable streak set by Central Coast, which went goalless in their opening four games of the 2006/7 season.
And that task - against arguably the most impressive outfit in A-League history - will be made all the more difficult without their 188cm Croatian import, who succumbed to a hip injury.
“It's something (Kresinger) has been carrying the last couple of weeks. He's been soldiering on for us really for the past two weeks," Popovic said.
“We felt that this is the best time to make sure that he gets over that injury. Hopefully he'll come back to 100 per cent next week (at home against Melbourne Heart).
“He's doing his best but he's clearly not 100 per cent and we can see that.”
Popovic admitted losing the 30-year-old wasn't ideal considering the club’s goal drought, but said it would only cause minor changes to its style with Mark Bridge and Labinot Haliti the expected strike pairing.
“It maybe changes slightly. But the way we play and pass and move, that will all be the same," Popovic said.
“Our formations can always change but the style of play will always be the same for us.” What hasn't changed, however, is Brisbane's ability to intimidate sides and impress crowds with its slick passing and relentless attack - something Popovic has noted.
“They're still a very formidable side, he said. “They've got outstanding players all over the place. And they play with that confidence and belief of champions.
“You've got to respect them. They are the champions and have been the benchmark for the last two seasons in the league. “We know it will be a tough game but there's a lot of belief in this squad, belief in this team. “It will be a great challenge and one that we're all looking forward too.”
Roar defender Shane Stefanutto says Brisbane's public should grab the chance to witness the skills of Japanese idol Shinji Ono and several other overseas stars now playing in the A-League.
Ono has been embarrassed by being hoisted in the same lofty company as high-profile imports Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey but in Asia he commands God-like status.
Stefanutto's respect is obvious when Ono's name is raised.
“I know him from my Feyenoord days, he's an absolutely fantastic player," he said of his 33-year-old opponent with the magical touch and exceptional vision.
“I hope all the Japanese public in Brisbane get out and watch him.
“With players like Ono, Del Piero and Emile Heskey, these are special times for the league and special times for Brisbane to have these personalities, superstars, whatever you want to call them, coming here to play.
Stefanutto said Western Sydney would be motivated by a chance to upset the defending champion and post its first A-League win after failing to register a goal in their opening three fixtures.However Stefanutto said there would be no shortage of inspiration for Popovic. “Their motivation will be they're playing against the champions and want to impress everyone,” he said.
“They'll play with a lot of energy and enthusiasm like they have been. It will be a difficult game and we're preparing for that. They were excellent in their first game against the Mariners and they've been unlucky since.”
In-demand Mat Ryan has opted for Belgian powerhouse Club Brugge over Denmark's Randers as he heads to Europe to embark on the next stage of his burgeoning career.