Northcote City Head Coach Zeljko Kuzman is looking to get straight back to winning ways when North Geelong Warriors visit John Cain Memorial Park for Round 4 of Westfield FFA Cup qualifying on Saturday.
After five wins from the opening five league games, City was dealt its first loss with a 4-2 reverse at Dandenong Thunder last week.
“It was a difficult pill to swallow considering the form we had leading into that,” Kuzman said.
“I thought we played some reasonable football in patches but probably didn’t respect their transition enough and their ability to hit their main marksman. We gave Barnes a little too much respect and time, a little oversight which we probably didn’t dress enough.”
“We analysed the game in detail on Tuesday and identified the areas that we need to tweak to ensure that we don’t concede four goals again. I thought the response from the boys on Tuesday in terms of the quality of training was fantastic. It was a bit of a wake up call and now we’re just looking forward to a reaction.”
Kuzman is approaching the Cup competition with the objective of winning, but at the same time will take the opportunity to freshen up his squad and give opportunities to other players.
“It’s like any other game. Our match principles are that we want to win every game that we partake in. That will be no different this weekend.”
“Having said that, there’s a few guys there that are nursing some sore bodies which we will be resting to make sure they’re alright for the following week. There will be as many as four or five changes this week.”
“It’s a great opportunity for some of the younger boys coming through that probably haven’t had as much game time as they’d have liked to really stand up and show us what they are capable of.”
In the Warriors, Northcote have drawn an NPL side, and despite taking only two points from five games so far in the top tier, Kuzman believes it will prove a valuable test.
“North Geelong deserves to be in the NPL after their stellar season last year. They’re struggling a little bit at the minute but it’s going to be a great challenge for us, one that we’re certainly up for and I just want to see how this group of players goes against their quality.”
Northcote’s FFA Cup tie is the first of a double header at John Cain this Saturday, with South Melbourne and Eastern Lions going head to head at 4pm.