Adelaide United defender Taylor Regan insists his side will leave no stone unturned as they attempt to navigate the challenge of tiring NPL Victoria giants Heidelberg United.
The two sides will be out to seal a FFA Cup semi-finals berth, but the odds are stacked in favour of Wednesday night’s visiting team.
The Reds are beginning to look sharp under new manager Marco Kurz, highlighted by their 3-0 trouncing of Melbourne Victory in the round of 16.
For the Bergers, the task is difficult though not impossible. No NPL side has ever defeated A-League opposition at the quarter-final stage of the cup.
To make things that little bit harder, Heidelberg were unsuccessful in their attempts to clinch the Dockerty Cup/premiership/championship treble on Sunday, losing the NPL Victoria grand final on Sunday.
United were left heartbroken by Bentleigh Greens at Lakeside Stadium after a gruelling 120 minutes, eventually losing the match 2-1.
Manager George Katsatkis admitted to Fairfax Media the bodies in his squad were beginning to fatigue, still with an NPL final to come against Perth’s Bayswater City at the weekend.
But Regan was not buying into talk of tiredness.
The hard-nosed centre-back said he is fully prepared for the storied club to fire for the occasion, drawing caution from their 1-0 round of 32 win over Perth Glory.
“People say little known, they’ve got a richer history than arguably all the A-League clubs,” Regan told a media conference on Tuesday.
“They’re a big club, they’ve got some very good players, plenty that, in my opinion, are probably good enough for the A-League.
“That’s the nature of the beast now. There’s plenty of talent in the NPL and it’s our job to go there and show why we train full time and why we get paid to do this professionally.
“They’ll be up for it. Adrenaline gets you through. Once they get to the ground and they see we’re on the other side of the pitch they’ll be ready to go.”
The challenge for Heidelberg’s players is to overcome the anguish of losing the grand final only three days later.
Defender Josh Wilkins told Tuesday’s Daily Football Show coach Katsakis stressed there was still plenty at stake for Heidelberg.
“The takeaway was don’t drop your heads because we’ve still got a lot to play for and we just keep on going,” Wilkins said.
And the 24-year-old was confident his teammates had put the disappointment behind them.
He added: “We’re pretty excited for them to come around, we’ve done our homework.
“We had a bit of a meeting last night (Monday) and went through some of their plays and what we think their weaknesses and their strengths are.
“We think we’re going to be in with a chance so we’re going to give them a good shot.”
Should Heidelberg cause an upset, the FFA Cup will see an even split of A-League and NPL teams in the semi-finals for the first time.