Rockdale City Suns coach Paul Reid says his team have nothing to lose when they take on reigning A-League champions Melbourne Victory in the FFA Cup.
Rockdale and Victory meet at WIN Jubilee Oval tonight in the round of 16. The Suns booked their spot after defeating Perth Soccer Club 3-1 in the round of 32.
“It was the first time Rockdale had been in the FFA Cup so to win the game, and win it quite comfortably, it was a really encouraging performance,” Reid told FourFourTwo.
“We were up 3-0 and it was pretty comfortable really. To get to the next stage was something that the club was looking at and we’ve got a dream draw against Melbourne Victory.”
Reid, a former Socceroo and A-League midfielder, is excited about playing the A-League powerhouse.
“It’s a dream draw for the club and something that, not only the players are looking forward to, but the whole backroom staff, the board and the supporters,” he said.
“Any team can be beaten. We’re the underdogs and rightly so. We’re in the NSW NPL and they’re the A-League champions, the best team in Australia. They’re definitely the favourites. But it’s 11 v 11.
“We do have a really good team, we’ve got a mix of youngsters but also some experience as well, and that experience is in the A-League.
“Playing against Melbourne Victory the boys are going to be nervous and we’re just going to go out there with nothing to lose and that’s the way our team best performs anyway.”
The Suns have a host of ex-A-League players ready to take on Victory. Dylan Macallister and Ivan Necevski joined the club mid-season while former Newcastle Jet Marko Jesic has been in great form.
“They’ve fitted in really well,” Reid said.
“To be able to get in the likes of Dylan and Ivan to compliment what we already have – they’re they’re two really good signings.
“Marko’s a player that should be playing at a higher level but obviously injuries, and very serious injuries, have stopped his progress. He’d be up there with one of our two best players this year.”
While the Cup clash will be played away from Rockdale’s home ground, Reid is hopeful of attracting a big crowd.
“Unfortunately it’s not going to be played at our ground,” he said.
“We would have liked that but in a situation like this, being the main game on Fox Sports as well, our ground doesn’t comply with lighting. But hopefully that will attract a bigger crowd.
“If we could get 8000 to 10,000 that would be great for the club and the players. There’s been really good interest from supporters and that’s the main thing. We were really disappointed we didn’t qualify last year.”
Reid enjoyed a long playing career, starting with the Wollongong Wolves in the NSL in 1998 and including six years in the UK with Bradford City and Brighton &Hove Albion.
The 36-year old played for Adelaide United, Melbourne Heart (City) and Sydney FC in the A-League and now works as a community football officer for the Sky Blues.
Reid took over as player-coach at the Suns after the departure of Branko Culina earlier this year.
“It hasn’t been easy, I must admit,” he said.
“But I’ve got a really great assistant coach in Matthew Ribarovski. It’s something that I’ve really enjoyed. At this stage I will play next year and also coach.”
Photo credit: Rockdale City Suns