EXCLUSIVE: Australia’s rising star Alex Cisak says Oldham have nothing to fear when they face Premier League royalty Liverpool in the Latics’ third round FA Cup tie at Anfield this Friday.
A packed house is expected and an eye-catching performance on one of the biggest stages in Europe would only help Cisak’s reputation.
The powerfully built 22-year-old is hopeful of a spot in the green and gold at the 2012 London Olympics, with the Aussie U-23s currently in qualification for the tournament.
Cisak, a regular between the sticks in the League One side, says the Latics’ recent away form (six consecutive draws) was cause for confidence ahead of the game.
“It’s a childhood dream of mine,” he told au.fourfourtwo.com. “It’s what you play football for. It’ll be an amazing experience.
“The whole team is buzzing and when you play at Anfield, everyone’s going to be running on high emotions.”
Cisak, who starred against Chesterfield in Oldham’s 1-1 draw on Monday, was born in Poland but moved to the Tasmanian capital Hobart when he was two.
He moved back to Europe in 2007 learning his trade in the Leicester City system before a move to Accrington Stanley.
Cisak then switched on loan to Oldham and after some stellar performances that helped earn him the League Two Player of the Month award in March, he subsequently signed a longer term contact with the Latics this year.
And with over 70 first-team appearances in the last three years he’s relishing the regular game time in the English lower leagues rather than sitting on the bench of a club higher up in the divisions.
Paul Dickov’s men currently sit 14th in League One after promotion last season.
“Everyone expects us to be under-dogs against Liverpool but I think we stand a good chance of going through to the next round,” added Cisak.
“I can’t see why we can’t look for a result. We try to play football. Some teams in our league try to play direct but we’re one of the teams who try play out and get on the ball and try play some attractive football.
“And on a good pitch like Anfield, you can play that type of football.”
The powerful glovesman has already been called up in recent years for the Young Socceroos.
The FFA have stayed in regular contact with Cisak and if the Olyroos do qualify for London 2012 – and that is not assured given Aurelio Vidmar’s side’s underwhelming campaign thus far – it may open the door for him to play on the biggest stage of his career, if selected.
“It’s everyone’s dream to play for Australia,” he said.
Friday’s Cup clash will also have an Australian flavour to it with Liverpool’s head of fitness and conditioning Darren Burgess a long-time staff member of the national team staff before the Reds snapped him up after World Cup 2010.
And Oldham’s likely number two keeper is Dean Bouzanis. The former Sydney FC keeper spent almost five years in the Liverpool reserves before leaving in 2011.
He recently signed as back up for the injured Paul Gerrard following a scuppered deal to join Melbourne Victory.
Oldham’s Australian midfielder James Wesolowski is also expected to play at Anfield after picking up a Boxing Day shoulder injury against Hartlepool.
Wesolowski, a long-time Liverpool fan, senses the Latics can play without pressure.
"Liverpool have lost to Reading, Barnsley and Northampton in recent years and we should not be nervous and should go out and play with freedom,” he told the Oldham Athletic website.
"Whenever you speak to anybody, all they want to talk about is the Liverpool game. And for most of us it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at Anfield.”
Cisak added: “They all talk about the magic of the FA Cup, and hopefully we can make an upset as well.”
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Pic thanks to Oldham Athletic