MetroStars won’t stray from their away-game routine for home FFA Cup clash with Oakleigh Cannons
METROSTARS will turn home ground advantage into an away-match experience as they aim to book a place in the last eight of the FFA Cup Tuesday night.
The SA Premier League club faces Victoria’s Oakleigh Cannons at the Parks Tuesday night in the national knockout competition.
But coach Michael Pirone said he would replicate the pre-match build-up to last month’s shock 2-1 win over New South Wales Premier League leader Blacktown City in Sydney.
The part-time players have booked Tuesday off work to prepare for the clash and will have a light training session tomorrow morning.
The side, which qualified for the FFA Cup by winning three straight interstate matches in the NPL finals series last year, will eat lunch together before resting ahead of Tuesday’s 7pm kick-off.
“The players will relax either at the club or come back to my house,” Pirone said.
“I’ve opened my place up to them because some of the boys live down south.
“We’re trying to keep it as close as we can to the conditions we had when we went on the road.
”MetroStars’ last competitive fixture was a 2-0 win over Modbury as they finished the Premier League season seventh and missed the finals for the first time since 2000.
The Klemzig club will welcome back winger Perry Mitris after his overseas holiday.
Striker Scott Tunbridge, who was rested against the Jets, also returned to action in a friendly against Raiders last Tuesday.
“We had a semi-competitive run (against Raiders) rather than just training and it gave me an opportunity to rotate players through that hadn’t had much of a run,” Pirone said.
“It’s only been a two-week break (since the end of the season) so it hasn’t been too bad, but if we do get through then things will have to change.
“The disappointment of the NPL season galvanised the boys a bit and they want to atone for that”
Oakleigh, which overcame Far North Queensland on penalties in the FFA Cup round of 32, finished the VPL season 11th.It boasts A-League experience in former Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar midfielder Kofi Danning, ex-Melbourne Victory hardman Steve Pantelidis and former Newcastle Jets striker Sean Rooney.
“The (VPL) table is probably not giving them enough credit because they’ve got a lot of guys that have been around for a while,” Pirone said.
“We’re acutely aware of the quality they’ve got in the side and we need to make sure we work well as a unit.”