United must climb the mountain
Before the W-League season started, Canberra United would have predicted an easy three points in its coming game against the traditionally lowly Perth Glory.
But at the halfway mark, Glory has won five of its six matches and is playing for top spot on the ladder, while United is in sixth place and needing the win just to stay in touch with the top four.
The fixture has been aptly scheduled for Wednesday - ''hump day'', as it's known - and if the reigning champions cannot get over it, the season the team has characterised as a mountain climb could start to look like Everest.
Coach Jitka Klimkova acknowledged the steep road ahead if they are to replicate last season's result.
''It's hard work, that's what we expected, even harder when you have this game behind you like we had in Sydney. But the mountain climb is hard work, we knew it wouldn't be so easy,'' she said.
With consecutive defeats fresh in the memory, including Saturday's heartbreaking loss to Sydney FC in the dying seconds of injury time, Klimkova is doing her best to keep the focus only on the task ahead.
''This is the same like last season … I didn't change my philosophy. The next game is Perth, so we'll get ready to beat Perth,'' she said.
''It will be important to look forward and not think about our two losses, just recover from that psychologically and believe in ourselves. We will analyse [the Sydney] game, we know we have to play to the end of the game, not 90 minutes, but in additional time we have to keep fighting and playing and, of course, some tactical mistakes we did during this game in Sydney, we will just try to be better next time.''
The midweek fixture, which was scheduled to accommodate Canberra's tour to Japan, means both sides have a short turnaround between games, with United at a slight advantage with the home fixture.
''It will be hard because Perth is a pretty strong team this season, but we'll do our best, prepare for this game like usual,'' Klimkova said.
''Usually we have more time, but it is how it is and we have to adapt to this situation.
''We'll need some luck too.''