Nick Montgomery's managerial career is only a handful of games old but the Central Coast coach already has his eyes on silverware.
Central Coast Mariners boss Nick Montgomery goes into just the 10th game of his managerial career knowing he stands 90 minutes from reaching his first final.
Montgomery's team travel to Kogarah Oval on Tuesday night to take on Sydney FC in an FFA Cup semi-final after wins over Blacktown, Wollongong and APIA Leichhardt earlier in the competition.
The Mariners have never reached the competition's final but they will take some confidence from outplaying the Sky Blues in a 2-0 win prior to Christmas.
The Mariners come into this Tuesday's clash having not played in over a month due to COVID-19 postponements, with 20 of the club's players and staff having been struck down by the virus.
"It's the first game of the new year and we're coming off the back of a good run," said Englishman Montgomery, who has overseen seven wins from his first nine games in both the league and cup.
"It's been a frustrating couple of weeks for us. Sydney have had a couple of games so it's a bit different in both camps, but the boys are chomping at the bit.
"The difficult thing for me will be picking a team. We're ready to go and cup football is cup football.
"This is a semi-final and a massive opportunity to get to a final and we'll be going there to get a result."
The time off has served Montgomery's side well with regular first-teamers Nicolai Muller, Ruon Tongyik and Oliver Bouzanic all back on deck.
But the Mariners have reached the semi-final off the back of their production line.
And Montgomery said he would aim to strike a balance between rewarding the youngsters who have helped them get to this point and bringing in his more experienced players
"It's a game by game basis, we'll assess the squad and we'll put out the best team with subs that I feel will give us enough depth," he added.
"It is a cup game so it can go to extra time, so we have to prepare for every scenario. We'll be ready for the game and to go to Sydney on Tuesday night."
Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix will fight it out for the other spot in the final on Wednesday.