THE cards are stacked heavily in their favour, but Yoogali SC is leaving nothing to chance ahead of Sunday's blockbuster against arch-rivals Hanwood FC.
Hanwood could be without more than half its first-choice side tomorrow with Joey Schirripa heading a lengthy list of injured or unavailable players for one of the most important clashes of the year.
Schirripa collected his third yellow card of the season last weekend and is suspended along with Daniel Draskovic, who was sent off in Hanwood's surprise 2-0 loss to West Griffith.
Centre-back Daniel Johnson and coach Anthony Agresta are also touch-and-go propositions due to niggling injuries, while key attacker Andrew Quarisa and reliable defender Daniel Quarisa are in Brazil for the World Cup.
But that doesn't mean YSC coach Sante Donadel is expecting anything other than a tough afternoon at Hanwood Oval on Sunday. "We're not going to take them lightly - it's Hanwood and Yoogali. Anything can happen," he said.
"Every team has its struggles - you've basically got a squad of 12 or 13 (genuine) first-graders.
"If you put reserve-graders in and they're not quite up to speed, it makes it pretty hard. If we play the way we played against YFC and a few other teams, I'm pretty confident of a result.
"But it all depends on how we play on the day."
Agresta admits it is not the ideal scenario for Hanwood but said he is left with little choice but to back his fringe players in.
Several of them got a run against West Griffith last round but they were unable to stop a plucky Magpies outfit from pouncing for a dramatic late victory.
"It is what it is," Agresta said.
"To me it was just one of those days from the word go.
"But we're playing at home this week and we’ll still put a side out there that will be good enough to take it to them.
“These games are always tightly contested and generally it comes down to whoever takes their chances.”
YSC is coming off a 2-2 draw with Leeton United at the Platform Lounge Oval, which was postponed until Tuesday night due to Leeton’s State Cup commitments.
The visitors went 2-0 up thanks to goals either side of the break from Ryan Spencer, but the match turned in the second half when United rallied to draw level.
Dean Bowen capitalised on a mistake at the back for Leeton’s first while Adam Raso converted a spot kick to restore parity, with neither side able to find a winner.
Raso had an earlier penalty attempt saved by YSC goalkeeper Michael DePaoli, but Donadel said his side had their own chances to claim victory.
“They put a lot of pressure on us every time we had the ball and that probably rushed us,” he said.
“But when we got out of that pressure we found a fair bit of space.
“Maybe not playing for nearly three weeks, it showed - we were a bit rusty.
“Realistically at the end, we could have closed the game up, but it was probably a fair result.
“Every time we go there we expect a hard game - it’s probably a voodoo ground for us, we don’t perform well there usually.
“They were coming off a high after the State Cup and you could see they were really buzzing.”