The A-League season break for the World Cup looms as an uncertain time for coaches who are desperate to ensure their team hits the ground running when the competition resumes next month.
Following Sunday’s conclusion of round 6, the A-League will go into recess until December 9 as Australian football’s focus switches to the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign in Qatar.
Depending on this weekend’s results, some teams will go into their break happier than others.
However. it’s safe to say that most A-League clubs can ill afford to be asleep at the wheel when they are back in action and, as a result, must remain sharp and focused during the break.
“It’s a challenging time because it’s not something you can really plan for or know is the best way to tackle this,” Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic said.
“But we’ve known about it for a while. All the clubs know that they have three to four weeks without any matches.
“It’s about managing some downtime with some good training and trying to get a few (friendly) games where we can to keep that match fitness going and then to be ready for the restart in December.”
The Victory has some business to take care of before the break when they meet Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
“We’re focusing on getting through this game first,” Popovic said.
“We want to finish with a very good performance in Adelaide. We know we have a chance to win again.
“We have a great rivalry as a club with Adelaide. We had some fantastic matches there last year and we look forward to another difficult but exciting game (on Friday night).”
Reds coach Carl Veart is just as keen for his side to head into the break in winning form, particularly if it comes at the expense of the Victory in an “Original Rivalry” battle.
“Being part of those first couple of (A-League) seasons (as a player), that’s when it (the rivalry) first really took off,” Veart said.
“Back then … nearly all the players were from South Australia and we had a huge rivalry with Victoria and it just grew from there.
“The atmosphere we have at these games can’t be beaten for rest of the games all season.
“We’ll make sure we’ll fire the players up to go out and be aggressive and get the points that we need to move on in the season.
“You want to play the game fair but you also have to be aggressive, especially here at home.”