Tigers FC has been forced to bring in reinforcements for its rescheduled FFA Cup fixture, after two positive COVID-19 cases left the Cooma club delicately close to forfeiting the potentially lucrative tie.
Its twice-delayed round-of-32 fixture against APIA Leichhardt is now set for Thursday night at Queanbeyan's Seiffert Oval.
Three Tigers are out of the match, with two battling COVID and another - who is not double vaccinated - in an extended quarantine period.
Cooma considered forfeiting if it could not fill its three-player gap, before Football Australia allowed it to sign emergency replacements.
The side's head coach Ryan Grogan said the squad would be back on the pitch on Sunday, and ready to go for the glamour fixture five days later.
"We've brought some replacement players in to boost our numbers back up," Grogan said.
"They're ex-Tigers players, so we brought in boys that don't play for the club at the moment but were part of the side last year.
"They're all excited that we've managed to get the game rescheduled. There was a cloud over whether a forfeit was going to be needed but, obviously, we found a solution to that."
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The match was initially postponed in August due to lockdown restrictions and again on Monday after two players tested posted to COVID. Subsequently, the squad and coaching staff entered a seven-day quarantine after two training sessions became exposure sites.
One silver lining of the delay - and the move from Viking Park to Seiffert - means up to 15,000 punters can attend the match.
The ACT COVID restrictions meant only 2000 people would be able to attend the fixture in Tuggeranong but the move to NSW means no crowd caps.
Grogan said the side was still raring to go and ready to face APIA, despite the final-hour postponement last week.
"Expectations don't change, it's just obstacles to overcome. But in terms of confidence, and what we think we'll do on Thursday, we still believe that we'll come out and be successful," he said.
"We wanted to keep it to former Tigers players that we brought in because they have played under me before. They know how I like the game to be played, so it's not like I need to reinvent the wheel ... it's more of a refresher course, and then they should slot in seamlessly.
"We're back into training every day. Nothing should have really changed, it's only been a week."
The winner between Cooma and Leichhardt will have five days to prepare to face A-League Men's side Western Sydney Wanderers in the round of 16.
If the Tigers come out on top on Thursday night, Grogan said he had no concerns about the short turnaround provided they had no injuries in their ranks.
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