After rolling through South Melbourne in what felt like cruise control, City find themselves again faced with NPL competition for their Round of 16 clash in the FFA Cup. This time out, City will be facing off against the Broadmeadows-based club Hume City.
The clash is set to take place out of ABD Stadium at 7:30 PM on Wednesday, December 1, with the visiting Australian Champions ensuring the NPL outfit will have a huge attendance on the night.
Hume City have proven to be one of the bigger NPL threats on offer when it comes to the FFA Cup, making it to the semi-finals in 2015 and more recently the quarter-finals in 2018.
The FFA Cup is no stranger to a state-level side knocking off an A-League club, and based on previous runs in the competition, Hume will have belief that they could pull off a Cupset.
City, however, will now be viewing the competition as a huge chance at silverware, as success over Hume will mean only two more wins until a return to the Cup Final.
As we edge closer to another night of Cup action, here are three things to look out for heading into the match:
Last time out in the Cup we saw PK field the best 11 available to him on the night. This was always the likely scenario considering it was the first match of our competitive season, whilst also allowing the boys a seven-day turnaround between games.
This time out is a totally different affair, as this will be City’s second match in a run that has us play four games in 12 days. This will evidently cause some boys to be rested, whilst also allowing some fantastic opportunities for our younger players.
Kisnorbo, has already shown his faith in our youngsters by assigning them the task to see out South Melbourne. Will he turn to youth, or will he tinker elsewhere?
We have already seen the likes of Galloway shine in a more attacking role, Griffiths looks comfortable in midfield or defence, while many other members of our squad are capable in a vast number of positions on the pitch.
How the boys line up on the night remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see how the manager adjusts to the challenges that a busy schedule presents.
Hume are here to play:
It's not uncommon for a state side to take a cautious approach against an A-League outfit, but Hume’s playing style suggests this will not be the case on Wednesday.
Hume finished the 2021 NPL season with 37 goals, which had them placed second in the league in that metric. Not short of talent, the attacking force of the Broadmeadows-based side is led by former Central Coast Mariners striker Josh Bingham, who netted 13 goals last season, placing him second in the overall goalscoring charts.
With much of Hume’s playing style focusing on their attacking prowess, sitting back and absorbing a barrage of City possession doesn’t seem an option. This means any chance of Hume progressing relies on them attacking City hard.
As with any fixture of this nature, the A-League side is expected to progress, however City will need to be on their toes to ensure we avoid a potential banana skin.
Can’t afford to ease up:
In City’s last two competitive matches, we have seen a total of three goals conceded in the last 20 minutes of the match. In the likely scenario that a rotated and younger squad is fielded, and Hume approach with a very attack-based game plan, not staying switched on for the full 90 could prove costly.
Unlike Adelaide away, we won’t be able to take the point, with the format of cup football ensuring a winner must be decided via either extra time or penalties. Considering this will be the first of three matches in seven days and recovery is key, City will be looking to avoid sending the match beyond 90 minutes at all costs.
Ensuring we see out the final moments of the game will prove pivotal to not only putting our name in the hat for the next round of the Cup, but also ensuring we are in the best possible position to take maximum points on the weekend throughout this highly-congested fixture build up.
When an A-League side meets a local outfit in the Cup, many deem it to be not much of a contest. However, this feels different. Whether it be Hume having proven their ability to rise to the occasion, the likelihood of a different-looking first XI, or just the magic of cup football, this is far from a walk in the park for our City boys.
Patrick Kisnorbo’s men have proven their ability to grind out results in these sorts of tough fixtures in the past, and that discipline will be required once again as only the most professional of performances will ensure we move into quarter-finals.