Melbourne Knights out for revenge

Melbourne Knights
Hamish Watson. Picture Shawn Smits.

By Lance Jenkinson

Melbourne Knights will not die wondering against rivals South Melbourne in their mouth-watering FFA Cup seventh round encounter at Knights Stadium this Wednesday night.

The Knights will get on the front foot and let their star-studded attack go to work as they aim to secure a victory that would take them onto the national stage of the knockout competition.

Knights captain and caretaker coach Marijan Cvitkovic said his side has learnt from the mistakes it made when South last visited Somers Street in the NPL earlier this season, which resulted in the visitors taking a one-goal win.

“We’re still pretty dirty on losing the home derby earlier in the season to South Melbourne and that’s something we’ve been throwing around in the changerooms as motivation,” Cvitkovic said.

“I think we created a couple of clear-cut opportunities on that night, but once South got their goal on the counter, they pretty much shut up shop and we were pretty desperate to equalise.

“I don’t think there was method to our madness, we went for long balls and there wasn’t really structure to our play, which worked into their hands.

“We’ve learnt a lot from that and now we’re starting to have a lot more faith in the way we want to play our brand of football and hopefully that’s on show Wednesday night because we’ve got some weapons up front.”

Melbourne Knights have a lot of class and variety in their attack.

Frontman Hamish Watson has A-League experience with Wellington Phoenix and is a proven finisher.

Gian Albano and recent acquisition Mohamed Awad are daring on the ball, while Caleb Mikulic returns a better player for a stint with FK Austria Wien.

“There’s some of the most talented attackers in the league in our team,” Cvitkovic said.

“The attack has pace, it’s got threat, it’s got goalscorers, so hopefully we can do what we have to and unlock the South Melbourne defence and score a couple of goals for the home crowd.”

As an NPL club, Melbourne Knights entered the FFA Cup later than the state league clubs, so they have only featured in three games to this point.

The Knights kick-started their cup run with a 7-0 blitz of Mooroolbark and backed that
up with a comfortable 3-0 win over Fitzroy City.

It was a 2-1 extra time win over NPL ladder leader Avondale in the sixth round that showed the Knights were serious about going on a deep cup run.

They went into that match without a coach after Micky Colina was given his marching orders and as the underdogs against an all-conquering opposition.

“Prior to that it was a really rough month for the group,” Cvitkovic said.

“Obviously we parted ways with Micky, which was a shock to the system for the boys, but Avondale weren’t going to feel sorry for us and we had to get on with the job.

“It’s sort of brought the team closer together.”