Further FFA Cup success for Devonport Strikers would send a strong message to the A-League that it may have missed a trick by not offering Tasmania a license believes coach Chris Gallo.
As he prepares for his first campaign in the competition, Gallo predicted Tuesday night’s encounter with Northcote City at Melbourne’s Veneto Club would be a “difficult”, but was confident a strong showing as the Strikers look to repeat their feats of 2016 when they qualified for the round of 16.
“They are quite a direct team, but they have very good ball playing players from an individual point of view,’’ Gallo said of his opposition following Saturday’s triumph over Hobart Zebras.
“So it is going to be a difficult game and they are a very forward attacking team, and I think their leading goal-kicker is their centre-back, so they are good at set pieces and they have a lot of physicality especially with their back four, so it will be a tough physical match.
“They are dangerous going forward, but that does leave them open at the back, and with their lack of mobility I think we can capatilise on that.
“I think we’ve got to make a really good account of ourselves and show Tasmanian football in the best light possible and show the national stage they have missed a trick leaving a Tasmanian A-League franchise out of Tasmania.”
Since the draw announcement in June, Gallo says he has watched about 15-20 hours of vision a week of Northcote City, who are fighting to stay alive in the NPL Victoria competition with a 4-6-12 record.
He indicated there may be a “slight tweak” in how they go about things on the synthetic pitch at the Veneto Club, with import Gediminas Kruza to return to the line-up.
If there is any pressure, it would be on the home team, Gallo believed.
“We are representing our community, our families and Tasmania as a state, as well as the people here and the club, and we want to do right by them,’’ he said.
“We really want to put a good show on and show what we are worth.”
While Gallo is preparing for his venture to the FFA Cup, his skipper Brayden Mann is somewhat of a veteran with this year being his fourth appearance, including the famous 1-0 win over Lambton Jaffas at Valley Road in 2016.
He said he couldn’t wait for the big stage again and agreed with Gallo that the state could make a statement in the competition
“It is all pretty surreal to be back here again,’’ said Mann, who has also represented South Hobart in the competition.
“The punchline of the cup is the “magic of the cup” and that it what it is, and I think it is really special because only one team from Tasmania goes through.
“You are representing Tasmania and I know everyone from Tasmania is behind us and they want us to do well.
“I feel like if we do well here, I do think people will take Tasmanian football quite seriously from now on.”
Kick-off on Tuesday will be at 7.30pm.