Another poor season's only set to get harder for Central Coast Mariners, but skipper Alan Baro believes they raise their game against the big sides.
Central Coast are one of only two sides to beat Sydney FC this season, while a strong performance to draw against Melbourne Victory last time out holds them in good stead against some of the league's best.
There's no escaping their ninth in the table, however, and Paul Okon's side face each of the top four in their last four games.
It could be a recipe for disaster, or a season-salvaging opportunity to show they're made of sterner stuff, according to captain Alan Baro.
“The last month of the season is a big challenge for us,” the Spanish centre-back said.
“We have to be prepared to work hard and finish as strong as possible. Everyone knows how difficult it will be but we need to have a clear view of what we want to achieve.
“We need to focus on each game as it comes and not look too far ahead. This season we’ve responded well when we’ve faced the supposed ‘big teams’.
“We have performed well in these games but we should be consistent in every game, this weekend we would really like to show to our fans that we can do much better.”
The Mariners face Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday, having failed to win once in their last 14 matches against the Big V.
“As always, playing against Melbourne Victory is going to be a tough game. It will be hard, but we’ve got a week to prepare to take them on,” he said.
“It’s always nice to come back and play against an old club but the focus will be on the way we play. We need to focus on playing well and try to fix our mistakes from last week.
“We’ve drawn twice against Victory this season and at home we played really well against them so we will want to replicate that performance a little bit.”