Wanderers defender Dylan McGowan has stressed the importance of having a good run in the FFA Cup and the positive effect it can have on a club's Hyundai A-League season.
As the Red & Black prepare for their FFA Cup Round of 16 clash against National Premier League heavyweights Sydney United at Campbelltown Stadium on Wednesday night, the newly appointed vice captain has no doubts it will have a bearing leading into the start of the season.
"Most of the successful seasons I have been a part of, we have have had a successful run in the FFA Cup," said McGowan.
"As much as friendlies are good for fitness and such, you can't replicate a competitive game and the FFA Cup provides that. It gives you games to look forward to throughout the pre-season and provides minutes under your belt.
"For us, going into the season, we need that as much as possible and the only way to do that is to stay in the FFA Cup."
McGowan spent eight seasons overseas, notably in Scotland with Hearts and East Fife, and is well aware of Cup competitions, what they mean and the need to be on your guard, especially against lower-ranked teams.
"There is no complacency," said McGowan.
"We treat the Cup like every other game. It’s another competitive game for us in pre-season, which is very important.
"You can have as many friendlies as you want, but the competitive ones are when it really means something to you and you can tell that there is a different feeling this week with the boys leading up to the game and it's a big chance for us to go through to the next round of the Cup.
“It’s a trophy the club has never won so that is on everyone’s mind too.
“We don’t enter competitions not to win them, we are too big a club to do that. For us, it is about getting through this round and being as professional as we can and putting on a performance for our fans.”
As for Sydney United, McGowan knows the Red & Black will be in for a tough fight.
"These boys at these clubs are obviously desperate to be in the Hyundai A-League and a lot of them have had chances to be in the Hyundai A-League or deserved chances," explained McGowan.
"They are a very good outfit. We have seen a bit of them and we will see a bit more going into the game. We won't underestimate them."