City Head Coach John van’t Schip believes his side’s pre-season so far has prepared the team for its first competitive match of the season on Tuesday night as they take on Floreat Athena in the Round of 32 of the Westfield FFA Cup.
van’t Schip spoke to the media as the team departed for Perth on Monday morning and the Dutchman believes his side is better prepared to tackle the early stages of the competition than this time last year.
“We’ve been training for six weeks and it’s good to have our first official game,” van’t Schip said.
“We are really looking forward to the trip to be together so we are really looking forward to it. We’re very pleased, we’ve trained well, we have had two friendly games and players are looking sharp and fit for this time of the year so we can’t complain.
“Compared to last year we were struggling until December in getting players back in from longer injuries but now we are actually very pleased about how the players are and we didn’t have any big injuries coming in so that was a big advantage.”
The Head Coach confirmed that Corey Gameiro will continue the final stages of his ACL recovery in Melbourne while new signing Neil Kilkenny will sit out the contest with a foot injury that van’t Schip says will see him return to full training when the side returns from Perth.
With the Club preparing for its first competitive match of the season, van’t Schip made it clear that he will be wary of the David v Goliath contest, giving the upmost respect to their NPL opposition.
“We know those games are can be difficult if we don’t approach it in the right way, it’s a cup game, they give everything they have,” he said.
“We have to be focused on our own game and game plan but still, that’s why it’s good to have these games because it brings a bit more to it from the boys, a bit more pressure and that’s also what you need when the A-League starts so we’re more than pleased with this competition and we want to get further, so it’s a must win.
“We had a look at them and we’ve seen footage and they are a team that’s going to be compact and fighting. They play in the game I’ve seen in a 4-4-2 formation but again, it’s all up to us.
“We have to prepare ourselves, know what we are going to expect and have respect for the opponent. We have to make sure we are prepared and ready for this game.
City take on Floreat Athena in the Round of 32 of the FFA Cup on Tuesday, kick-off 8.30pm AEST. See details on how you can see the match via Fox Sports’ live stream.