SYDNEY FC have opted for a fresh start under new coach Frank Farina, and club captain Terry McFlynn is hopeful the new boss will give him a reprieve as he fights to keep his place in the starting side.
McFlynn is off contract at the end of the season, and knows that if he wants a new deal, he'll have to win over his doubters - not just in the dugout but in the stands too, where his detractors have become increasingly vocal.
He might be the only player left from the club's foundation squad but that counts for little as the Sky Blues battle to overcome a nightmare start to the season. The 31-year old said he wasn't affronted by being dropped earlier in the year, saying the team comes before an individual, even the captain.
''For me, the success of this football club is the most important thing. It never has been and never will be about individuals and whoever is in charge; I'll respect their decisions for the betterment of the team,'' he said.
''Everyone wants to play. I'm no exception, and everyone is putting their hand up. In troubled times, that's when you have to stand up and be counted. However, no player is guaranteed their position, and with us regaining players from injury, the competition for places goes up again.''
Although Farina shared managerial duties with interim coach Steve Corica last week, McFlynn at least started in that game, and should keep his spot for the trip to face Wellington Phoenix on Sunday night. The 0-0 draw against Melbourne Heart might not have meant much to outsiders, given it was last versus second-last, but McFlynn said it had fuelled a belief things could turn around.
''For confidence, I think it's a massive boost because after four losses in a row, our confidence took a battering,'' he said. ''We deserved more than a point but we played well, and that's the positive. Our performance had to lift, and I think it did, which gives us something to build on.''
The Ulsterman said his teammates were still getting to grips with making such a poor start to the campaign.
''It's been a difficult start, not just for me but for everyone here,'' he said. ''To be bottom of the league never entered our head. It was never even something we thought about. It's quite a shock, it's been tough. Now we have to stick together, starting in Wellington.''
Farina has laid bare his plans to work the team into shape - both in terms of tactics and fitness - and McFlynn said the players were ''all prepared to do whatever it takes''.
''When the boss came in he said we were going to work hard to get ourselves out of the predicament that we've found ourselves in, and since then the boys have put their heads down,'' he said. ''I think it's been a very productive week. We've had double sessions throughout and we've worked a lot on structure and a lot on shape.
''He's said from day one that we've got a fight on our hands, and we know that. We'll rally around each other, especially in tough times like these, and we'll stick together until we come out the other end.''
Sydney have lost their past four against Wellington, and haven't won in New Zealand in three years, making it something of a graveyard for the Sky Blues, but even without the injured Alessandro Del Piero, McFlynn holds out hope for a minor miracle.
''Their home record against everyone over the length of the A-League has been very good, and I think they had the best record of all teams at home at one point, so it's not just us that struggles there,'' he said. ''It's a difficult trip, everyone knows that, but we can't use that as an excuse. It's a factor but we need to find ways to win, not ways to lose. We have to go there and get our season back on track.''