Head coach Dean Heffernan believes Western Sydney Wanderers have an edge over Melbourne City ahead of their historic first Westfield W-League Finals Series match.
While the unbeaten Premiers have spent the week training without nine international stars ahead of Sunday's Semi Final at ABD Stadium, Heffernan insists the Red and Black have been in the finals football mindset for weeks.
In order to secure their first post-season showdown in club history, Heffernan's side were forced to come through an all-or-nothing encounter with Perth Glory in Round 14 and they did so with flying colours, taking an early three-goal lead before clinging on to win 3-2.
Wanderers claimed that result off the back of a 4-0 reverse against City, which clinched the Westfield W-League Premiers Plate for Rado Vidosic's side, but Western Sydney are now far more equipped to deal with a star-studded City side, according to Heffernan.
“Two weeks ago, leading up to the Perth game, we knew we had to win that game to make the finals so our Finals Series had already begun,” said Heffernan.
“We know what it’s like to be in must-win games already. It’s a little bit of an advantage for us, for sure, where we’re ready to go.
“Nerves and confidence is not going to be an issue for us.
“We’ve had a must-win game already. It was a tough game for us down there and it sets us up well for this one.
“We’re expecting a really strong Melbourne City side but we’re a bit of a different side, a different look, to what faced Melbourne City in the last game at Marconi.
“We were missing quite a few players but everyone is back on deck and the level has gone up a few notches.”
Despite writing history in their eighth season in the competition, last year's wooden-spooners have taken little time to celebrate their accomplishment.
Heffernan knows that simply making up the numbers in the Finals Series is not a measure of success and he expects his Red and Black upstarts to push Vidosic's Premiers all the way on Sunday.
“From day one when I spoke to all of the players, whether it was signing them or day one of training – we spoke about creating history for the football club,” added Heffernan.
“That’s something that we’ve managed to achieve but, knowing this squad of players and what they are like competitively every day on the training pitch and in football matches, is that they want more.
“So do we. We all want more as a team and as a club. Getting through Melbourne City on Sunday is the first step.”
Melbourne City vs Western Sydney Wanderers
Date: Sunday, 15 March 2020
Venue: ABD Stadium, Broadmeadows
Kick-off: 1:30pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: FOX Sports, ABC TV
Stream: ABC iview, Kayo Sports, MyFootball App