Paul Izzo warned his side cannot afford to be complacent against the Central Coast Mariners as they look to consolidate fourth spot in the league standings.
Adelaide United return to action this Saturday night against the Gosford based club after missing the first weekend of the split round.
The Reds, fourth, are two points clear of the fifth-placed Melbourne Victory and five behind the third-ranked Melbourne City, but have a game in hand to both Victorian outfits.
Consequently, a win over the Mariners would build a five-point buffer over Kevin Muscat’s team and move them within touching distance of City.
Izzo expected a fired-up Central Coast side, who are currently experiencing a 10-match winless run.
The young gloveman stressed Adelaide must not underestimate Paul Okon’s team, highlighting the permutations a victory would have on the table.
“I know they’re hungry,” the ex-Mariner said.
“From experience I know what their goals were this season and I think finals football was the absolute bare minimum.
“And obviously right now they’re not on track but it’s still very possible if they get a good run.
“They’ve come to Adelaide before and got points against us and we have to be wary of that.
“And at the same time we have to be wary of ourselves because it’s a big opportunity to push up.”
Marco Kurz’s men were given the last two days off and this morning hit the training track as they begin preparations for their crucial match.
Izzo admitted the weekend away from playing allowed himself and the rest of the squad to recuperate ahead of the pointy end of the season.
“It’s probably the fullest squad we have had for a while now,” he said.
“It’s great that we had the weekend off and it’s good to just refresh and just enjoy a week off instead of going flat out for 27 rounds which is pretty gruelling especially over the summer period.
“So it was a good time to refreshen up and get back on the pitch with a clear mind.”
Izzo went on to discuss the Reds’ latest acquisition in Slovenian striker Džengis Čavušević, speaking about some of his attributes.
“He’s a big strong boy and obviously a target man,” he said.
“From what I’ve seen this week he looks to use his body a lot and is a good physical player.”
The 23-year-old also said the former FC St. Gallen talisman has acclimatised well in his new environment.
“I think we have a fantastic change room, we obviously accept everyone whoever it is,” he added.
“We mingle a lot and the boys are great so he fitted in like a glove.”
Adelaide United host Central Coast Mariners in Round 20 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Saturday, 17 February at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.