SHINJI Ono hasn't provided the goals of the A-League's other marquee stars but his influence on Western Sydney Wanderers has been just as pivotal, says skipper Michael Beauchamp.
Ono has featured in all four of the Wanderers' games so far this campaign and has shown glimpses of his undoubted pedigree but has yet to notch a goal or assist for the club.
While Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey have been finding the net regularly and attracting all of the headlines for their respective clubs, it's been a much quieter start for the former Japanese international.
"He's creating a lot of chances, he's getting on the ball a lot and he's been an addition that's great for not only our team but the club itself," Beauchamp said.
"Whether he scores or not doesn't matter because he's doing a great job for us. When he arrived he hadn't played for a while but I think within himself now he's feeling a lot better.
"It was a little bit hard the first week coming straight into training and then the game but he's settling in a lot more.
"His fitness is there and you can see his touch on the ball has been great."
Beauchamp said Ono's impact on the team was being felt as much off the field as on it with his professionalism and character a great example to the rest of the squad.
And there's no doubt Ono will again be a key figure if the Wanderers are to register back-to-back wins when they face the Melbourne Heart at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night.
The clash brings together two of the least experienced coaches in the A-League, with Wanderers boss Tony Popovic locking horns with good friend and Heart coach John Aloisi.
"We (Popovic and Aloisi) played together for a long time and there's also (Heart assistant) Hayden Foxe who I know very well," Popovic said.
"I'm pleased to see them both at Melbourne Heart and coaching but we'll both be trying to get one over each other on Friday.
"It's great (for two young Aussies coaches) to go head-to-head and I'm sure there will be many more coming through.
"There's plenty of young aspiring coaches out there that are learning the trade and looking for an opportunity and I'm certainly pleased to be a head coach in the A-League."
Asked how vital last weekend's breakthrough win over Brisbane was for player morale, Popovic said: "I'm sure the players would be feeling good about themselves.
"With performances they've been putting in there's a result to show for it now and a very good scalp for us in Brisbane.
"But now the challenge is to follow that up with a win at home against Melbourne Heart which will certainly be a tough game for us."