A baptism of fire awaits reigning NPL South Australia and national champions Campbelltown City who face Melbourne City in the FFA Cup Round of 32.
It is the first time the club has advanced to this stage of the competition and is one of four NPL sides drawn to A-League opposition.
Though according to head coach Joe Mullen, Campbelltown are not allowing this achievement to overshadow their NPL responsibilities which he feels will be good preparation for the test against City.
“I said to the players, the best way to prepare for it is to concentrate on our local competition now we’ve got three or four big games between now and then so the [City] game is right at the back of our minds,” he said.
“The best chance we have to win that game is to focus on these next few games in NPL.
“FFA Cup was great on Wednesday when the draw came out but we won’t think about it until we play it.”
It will be a big test for the side’s depth – with Campbelltown only having 16 senior players – given the match will be played during the NPL season.
“It’s about keeping the players rested and not overloading them,” Mullen said.
“We’ve got players in our reserve squad who can come up so when you’re playing three matches in a week we have to be careful we don’t overload, especially with the older players because they might be at risk of soft tissue injuries.
“It may not happen in that game but could happen somewhere down the line if you overload them, especially towards the end of the NPL season.”
Sitting on top of NPL South Australia, Campbelltown City will face a rejuvenated Melbourne City side under new boss Erick Mombaerts, who will make his Australian coaching debut.
While the players will be buoyed by the task ahead, it is also an exciting one for Mullen who has been one of the most successful coaches in South Australia.
“Just as a player is excited about it so are the coaches about it as well, it’ll be a little bit harder this time because Melbourne City will potentially have some new players coming in and a new coach who will have a new style,” he said.
“It will be food for the club and a good spectacle it didn’t matter which [A-League club] we got, it will be good to see where are at and whether we can compete which I’m sure we will.
“[City] won’t be as match hardened as they’d normally be but of course at that time of year the players are trying to impress coaches so it can be a good time because they might not be as fit.
“But from a professional point of view the players will be no doubt trying to impress coaches, especially Melbourne City with a new style new philosophy.”