Lions FC coach Warren Moon says his side won’t sit back behind the ball and will attack Perth Glory in their FFA Cup match on Wednesday night.
The Glory cross the country to take on the Brisbane Premier League outfit at Perry Park in the Cup. Lions FC reached the round of 32 after upsetting South Australia’s Croydon Kings.
Moon, who played in the A-League with Brisbane Roar a decade ago, knows his third-tier club are huge underdogs and said they have no pressure on them.
“If you get a State League side at home there comes that expectation of pressure that you might cop some flak if you don’t go through,” he told FourFourTwo.
“If you’re going to go into this stage of the competition you probably want to put yourself up against an A-League side. We’re pretty happy and we’re going to play without fear.
“We’ve got nothing to fear, the pressure’s on them really. They’re meant to beat us – they’re full-time and we’re not.”
Perth scraped through to the round of 16 against Newcastle Jets on penalties and have a number of new players settling in after an off-season exodus.
“We’ve always got a chance in a game of football, regardless if they’ve got issues or not,” Moon said.
“The better side doesn’t always win. They’re a new side, they’re early in their pre-season. Our game-plan won’t change too much if it’s an A-League side or a State League side – we’re going to have a go.
“We’re not going to sit back, we’re going to have a go and see what happens.”
The Cup game will be played at Perry Park, the home of the Brisbane Strikers, and not Lions FC’s Luxury Paints Stadium because of lighting issues.
Moon believes there are positives and negatives to the venue change, with the club hopefully attracting 3000 or more spectators.
“It’s good and bad,” Moon admitted.
“Disappointing for us as we can’t play in front of our home fans, as we’re 25 minutes outside of Brisbane and Perry Park’s right in the heart of the city.
“But probably good in a way that, I’m sure Perth Glory would have preferred to play at our ground instead of Perry Park because ours is probably the biggest pitch in Brisbane and is like a carpet.
“They would have prepared for that, whereas Perry Park has had a fair bit of traffic. It’s a smaller pitch and is a little bit bumpier so it might level the playing field there as well.”
Lions FC are high on confidence after knocking out Croydon Kings in the last round and finishing top of the Brisbane Premier League. The club have only lost two games all season and won the premiership by six points.
“It was an upset as Croydon are a good side, they’ve got a lot of ex-A-League players in their side,” Moon said.
“They’re better than anything we’ve faced in Brisbane or in Queensland. So we certainly did play well and were happy to get the result.
“We won the league officially a week before the Croydon game. We’ve had a good year in the league.”
Moon played in the NSL with Brisbane Strikers and in the first season of the A-League with Brisbane Roar. The midfielder also had a season with Queen of the South in Scotland before taking up coaching.
The 33-year old joined Lions FC as player-coach last year.
“I wasn’t blessed with an athlete’s body,” Moon said. “After the Roar I went and tried my luck in Scotland, played there for a year and a half and got a pretty bad injury. I decided to come back and it ruled me out for about nine months.
“I was sort of in limbo about trying to play professionally again and I had a groin that was worse than that of a 60-year-old man. So I took up a player-coach role at 25.
“I was a bit young to get into it but I won the championship in my first year as a coach for Eastern Suburbs here. I liked it, got into it, and after that I stepped down and went back into playing in the hopes of getting a professional deal again.
“But pretty early I realised that wasn’t going to happen. So I took another player-coaching job up at Peninsula Power here in the Brisbane Premier League. I was there for three years, we won four or five trophies in the three years that I was there and I just keep doing it.
“It’s a tough gig and I haven’t played much this year.”
Moon, who works full-time as the football operations manager at Anglican Church Grammar School, won’t be putting on the boots against Perth because of injury.
He believes the creation of the FFA Cup has been a pivotal moment for the game in this country.
“I think it’s the best thing to happen in Australian football since the inception of the A-League,” Moon said.
“I was there when the A-League started at the Roar, I was in the NSL as well, and it was a really good time to be in the A-League.
“While it’s always grown in terms of the standard, I think it needed something like this, an injection again and the FFA Cup has certainly captured the imagination in Queensland. Players are talking about it, people want to see it.”