Western Sydney Wanderers were the first team to ever fall to state league opposition in the FFA Cup - and have no intention of suffering the same fate when they face Edgeworth FC on Tuesday night.
The Wanderers are preparing for the Newcastle-based club as seriously as they would for an A-League fixture as they look to safely progress to the quarter-finals.
Defender Scott Neville said his teammates were excited for the journey to Magic Park in Broadmeadow, where they're anticipating a rough reception from the locals.
“The boys can't wait. We've had a few intra-club games and a few friendlies against local sides like Canberra and Sydney United but the boys are ready to go up against Edgeworth,” Neville said. “The NPL sides are really fired up - as they should be - because this is a great competition and we need to be focused from the start, stick to our game plan and make sure we're really switched on.”
And the Wanderers have even been tapping into some local knowledge to make sure they’re not caught unawares.
“I know a few things - [ex-Jets midfielder] Jacob Pepper used to play for them so he tells me they're a pretty handy side,” Neville said. “They've obviously got Danny McBreen, who had a great career in the A-League around Australia. So we've got to be on our toes and it should be a great atmosphere up there.”
With the Wanderers having lost their third grand final in four years last season, goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne said his side was determined to grab a trophy this campaign.
“It's always good to get out and have a competitive run and whenever there is silverware on the line, the Wanderers want to have a good crack at it,” he said. “We'll be having a good sting at it [against Edgeworth] and hoping to move on to the next round.”
“Edgeworth are there for a reason, like Gold Coast were there last year. You can't take any team lightly, it's going to be a good challenge and you've got to show them respect. But having said that, we've just got to stick to our guns and we know what we've got to do.”
There’s been another offseason of changes at the Wanderers in recent months but Redmayne said it had been a smooth transition for most of the new faces.
“The new boys are gelling fantastically. I can't speak highly enough of how well they've done since coming in and what they've added to the change room and on the pitch,” he said. “There's a lot of quality there and looking forward to gelling with them in a competitive match.
“There's also few little tweaks that we've made to our game. All for the better, of course, and tomorrow night that will be a good chance to work on that and put it into action.”
Neville was particularly bullish about one new arrival in particular - new Japanese midfielder Jumpei Kusukami.
“Jumpei is a clever little player who works extremely hard and the dedication that he's put in over the past month or so to get himself up to fitness is great,” Neville said. “He's going to be a little livewire for us and I can't wait to start playing with him.”
“The structures that we play and the way we play is very demanding, so every day at training it's the same. It's what we strive for and what we love so it's good to have some new faces around and we're all working together and gelling quite nicely.”
Redmayne will go into the season as the clear first-choice between the posts, having seen off both Dean Bouzanis and Liam Reddy last season. He’ll instead have Jerrad Tyson as his backup after he re-joined the Wanderers for a second stint.
“Jerrad is fantastic, I was with him at the AIS, so we've had a history together and we know each other quite well,” he said. “He's been fantastic coming in and like all the other new boys, he's added a lot to the group.”