Adelaide United's German coach Marco Kurz senses the return of key names - including former La Liga striker Baba Diawara - has the Reds in timely shape to repeat their Grand Final glory days of 2016.
The Reds smashed Brisbane Roar 5-3 on Anzac Day, less than a week after dispatching Melbourne Victory 1-0 to finish off the A-League season.
With momentum on their side as the A-League Finals Series kicks off in May, United have now sewn up the much-coveted home Elimination Final next weekend.
And with Diawara scoring within minutes of coming on at Suncorp, Kurz is quietly confident his Reds can steal a march on Grand Final favorites Glory, Sydney FC, and Melbourne Victory.
Diawara, full name Papa Babacar Diawara, the club’s marquee, has been out injured since Round 2.
You sense the former Getafe and Seville forward is now making up for the lost time.
After one friendly on an artificial pitch the previous week, there were concerns the 31-year-old wouldn’t be ready for the A-League.
Those worries were misplaced
“Now, I know, he’s well prepared for the squad, and that’s good news,” a relieved Kurz told the media.
“It’s good to know and you can see he can make the difference in the box, he’s a finisher.
“It’s good to have him back.”
Others returnees have also put a smile back on Kurz’s face as an FFA Cup and A-League Championship double loom on the horizon.
“To have[Jordan] Elsey back is important and [Ben] Halloran has now played a third game and [Nikola] Mileusnic is back and Blackwood is in a good shape.
“Now we have a bigger challenge in the training and I can make good but hard decisions.”
Adelaide is almost certain to face Wellington Phoenix in their Elimination Final at home next week.