John van 't Schip says Melbourne City's clash with Adelaide United on Friday is an opportunity for his players to test themselves against 'the best playing team' in the A-League.
The Reds are third on the table going into Round 19, with the clash at AAMI Park an opportunity for Josep Gombau's side to leapfrog second-placed Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory to move top of the standings.
City are down in seventh spot, level on points with reigning champions Brisbane Roar, who occupy the last finals berth.
Hyundai A-League Round 19 ins-and-outs
To reclaim a spot in the top six, City will have to overcome a side Van 't Schip considers to be the competition's premier entertainers.
"Tomorrow we get an opportunity against another good team, I think maybe the best playing team in the league," he said.
"They're very mobile, they play open, from the back they want to build up. They have pace so they can play in tight areas, they can also play a direct kind of football.
"I'm not saying they're the most balanced team because they've lost five games. So there are also points in their team that we have to punish when we can. To watch I think they are playing the best football."
Adelaide will be without first-choice defenders Osama Malik and Nigel Boogaard through injury, while holding midfielder Isaias is suspended.
Although some disruption in the visitors' ranks may afford City an opportunity to score for the first time in four matches, Van 't Schip was quick to offer a reminder of his own side's lengthy injury list, with Damien Duff, Mate Dugandzic, Robbie Wielaert, James Brown, Ben Garuccio and Jacob Melling all sidelined for the match on Friday.
"Maybe you can also mention all the players we are missing and I think we have a longer list," he said when quizzed on the Reds' absentees.
Given those fitness woes, City hope to sign one or two injury replacement players to provide cover during the run-in and could be in a position to make an announcement next week, according to Van 't Schip.
"We're working hard on it and we hope to come with names but up until now we can't say anything," he said.
"Hopefully after the weekend we can have some more solutions."
With so many forwards in particular sidelined, the progress made by Josh Kennedy has been encouraging in his first three appearances.
And while the veteran Socceroo is yet to open his City account, Van 't Schip has been impressed by the performances of the Australian marquee player.
"Both Josh and I know that he's not 100 percent yet," he said.
"But what he showed was promising. He has to get fitter and stronger and he's on his way to (doing) that."