THEY may not possess the grand final experience of their opponents but Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic has backed his side to overcome yet another hurdle in what's been a remarkable debut season for the club.
Central Coast Mariners head into Sunday's A-League grand final well aware of what to expect on the big day, with 10 of their expected starting line-up with experience on the last day of the season.
In contrast the Wanderers have just five players in their side who have played in an A-League decider before, with many believing that lack of knowledge could work against them.
But Popovic said his players have been proving the critics wrong all season and knows they won't be overawed by the occasion.
"If they are feeling any different they are certainly not showing it," the Wanderers boss said. "The spirits are very high and they're very relaxed at the moment.
"They believe in what we need to do and what we'll try and do on Sunday. It's a special day for our football club and there should be nerves of anticipation and excitement but not nerves of fear.
"I'm sure the players don't have any fear."
While the likes of Shinji Ono, Mark Bridge, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Michael Beauchamp have played a key role in the Wanderers success, the influence of rookie coach Popovic can't be understated.
Along with assistant Ante Milicic, they have got the best out of a hastily assembled squad of players largely discarded by other clubs.
Regardless of finals experience, Popovic will have his side primed to go come kick-off at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
"That's the way it's been all season with him," club captain Beauchamp said of Popovic. "He helps keep the boys steady and grounded and it's the main reason for the success we've had so far.
"But there's still one massive goal to go. He's prepared well, got the boys ready for the game and he's not showing any nerves himself."
The Wanderers fan base is arguably the biggest – and most vociferous - in the A-League and they will no doubt dwarf the travelling Mariners contingent on Sunday.
Asked if the huge swell of support increased the pressure on his side, Popovic said: "Everyone talks about pressure and expectation but these boys have had it since day one.
"For them it's nothing new. It's a bigger occasion and there will be more fans in the stadium but we've handled pressure very well throughout the year.
"They came into their first semi final under pressure and handle that well against a good side. I've got no doubt they can handle it. This group of players are well prepared and ready for a grand final."