Steve Corica is not taking his side's trip to Cairns lightly, despite Sydney FC travelling north as near-unbackable favourites to progress past the FFA Cup Round of 16.
The reigning FFA Cup champions will be looking for a much more defensively sound performance than their 4-2 win over APIA Leichardt in the FFA Cup Round of 32.
Cairns FC are playing their in their fifth successive FFA Cup proper, but it’s the first time they’ve ever progressed beyond the first hurdle.
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Western Australia’s Armadale SC were the victims in their first match, with goals from Jamie Carroll, Joshua Taylor, Bronson Koppen, and Chris O’Hare doing the damage in a 4-0 win.
Corica is aware of the challenge Cairns will pose on Tuesday night, but said he expects to win.
“We expect to win every game we go into, so that’s no different,” said Corica.
“We’ve studied them to make sure, like we do for every other game, so we’re taking it seriously and we expect to win. Also, we want to put on a good performance.
“They’ve got a quick team, especially up front, the goalscorer [Joshua Taylor] has scored 20 odd goals this year… we’re well aware of their strengths.”
There’s an added personal element to this game for Corica, whose nephew Harry plays for Cairns.
It’s also a return home for the Sydney FC coach, who was born and raised in nearby Innisfail, but hasn’t been that far north in a footballing capacity for quite a while.
“I think we had a pre-season game for Sydney FC many years ago, probably, eight, nine years ago, so that was the last time football wise,” said Corica.
“Otherwise, I always go home to see my family, they all live up there. My brothers are all up there as well, so there’ll be good support on Tuesday night.”
There are just three senior players who won’t be making the trip, with two missing out due to injury.
Alex Wilkinson and Daniel De Silva both copped knocks in the Round of 32 win over APIA Leichhardt, and they won’t be risked in this one.
The other is new signing Adam Le Fondre, who is still waiting on his visa. His first priority, according to Corica, should be settling into the squad.
“For me, it’s more about fitting in with the team, the culture, the club, getting to know the players and feeling happy here and playing well,” said Corica.
“He’s trained a couple of times already with us, he’s looking sharp and very excited to have him here, to join our squad, so looking forward to seeing him play in a real game.”