South Cardiff say they will play without pressure when they head into the unknown to take on South Springvale in the inaugural FFA Cup.
The Northern NSW minnows have targeted a minimum last 16 finish and believe the lack of outside expectation could power a cup run.
Head coach Greg Asquith is confident his mobile squad can take the game to their Victorian State League Division 1 opponents on July 29.
“It’s important for our players that we believe we are going to be competitive no matter who the opposition is,” Asquith said of the away tie.
“We have worked very hard to get this far in the competition and I don’t think the players will be too keen on letting an opportunity like this slip.
“It is also important to respect your opposition and we will be mindful that underestimating any side can be problematic.
“Being a small club in this competition though, there is not as much pressure on us as there is on other teams so we can afford to play with a bit of freedom.
“We don’t know a great deal about South Springvale. I have been fortunate to get some footage on them and they look like a very good side, so we are expecting a tough game.”
Asquith described the opportunity for his players to travel interstate to their rival’s home ground, Warner Reserve, as a great experience.
South Cardiff, who train twice a week, were founded in 1989 and qualified for the FFA Cup after defeating Cooks Hill in the semi finals of the NNSW State Cup.
Asquith, who is in his first season coaching the Gunners, said his side likes to keep possession of the ball and play out from the back.
“We have a fairly mobile squad so we like to press teams where we can and win the ball high up the pitch,” he said.
“Our versatility has improved. It’s not always possible to play the same way, so we look to adjust our game to the conditions and how the opposition are playing.
“Our first goal is to give a good account of ourselves. We want give South Cardiff FC a positive name on a national level so if we can be competitive, that will be pleasing.
“We have a goal of making the last 16. Anything can happen in football – particularly in knockout games.”
South Cardiff has a number of former Newcastle United NSL players in its ranks, including skipper Jarryd Johnson, Mitch Wallace and Chris Gazzard.
“The key for us this season has been the ability to work as a unit,” Asquith said.
“Matt Grey has been influential in the centre of defence, bringing leadership, stability and strong organisational skills.
“Ashley Balcomb and Lee Ashton have had fantastic seasons in midfield along with Mitch Wallace who works tirelessly up front.
“The experience and leadership of our captain, Jarryd Johnson also benefits our group.
“Potential is the key word with our young players. We have a lot of youngsters at our club with potential to go to the next level.
“That will depend on their dedication and the sacrifices they are prepared to make to get there, along with a bit of luck.”
Asquith concedes South Cardiff has had a mixed season in the NNSW National Premier League so far, with the club currently sitting in ninth position, eight points below the top five.
“Our competition has been very close this year and most teams have a realistic opportunity to make the five,” he added.
“We have lost three players to season-ending injuries and have had some good key players missing with injury for prolonged periods.
“We have beaten some good sides along the way but have lacked some consistency.
“Hopefully the confidence taken from making the final 32 of the FFA Cup can boosts us for a roll towards the semi-finals.”