Western United coach Mark Rudan will have to shuffle his squad for Sunday's meeting with talent-packed Western Sydney Wanderers in Ballarat.
Western United will be without suspended stars Victor Sanchez and Tomislav Uskok for Sunday's battle with an opponent coach Mark Rudan says boasts the "deepest squad in the league".
Western Sydney Wanderers arrive in Ballarat desperate to arrest a two-match losing skid, while United are eager to extend their winning run to three.
But Rudan has lost the services of last week's two-goal hero Sanchez and strong defender Uskok as he plots a way to blunt a Wanderers outfit brimming with attacking talent.
Rudan might have been playing mind games this week when he suggested an over-supply of forwards has the potential to unsettle the Wanderers' squad, with his opposite number Carl Robinson juggling game time for Bernie Ibini, Kwame Yeboah, Mitchell Duke and James Troisi, among others.
"They've got the deepest squad in the league," Rudan said.
"It's no secret that they're the highest spenders alongside Melbourne City and that's a credit to (Wanderers chairman) Mr (Paul) Lederer.
"He's extremely generous with his club and his coaches and he gives them every opportunity to do well every year.
"But when you talk about strikers, they've got a good six or seven that would walk into any other team.
"How you keep them happy, I have no idea."
Rudan was privately fuming with the second yellow card that saw Uskok sent off in last week's dramatic derby win over Melbourne Victory - sealed by Sanchez's last-gasp strike in the fifth minute of injury time - and flagged the likelihood of challenging his automatic suspension.
United ultimately opted against that move, with veteran Andrew Durante or Brendan Hamill in contention to fill in at centre-back.
Luke Duzel and Jerry Skotadis are in the mix for veteran Spanish star Sanchez's spot as United chase a third straight win that could propel them into the top six.
"We're a team that's in form and playing some good football," Rudan said.
"We know what it takes to win and we've got a winning mentality now.
"One thing we've changed is that in a game we're able to shift our focus and be able to suffer when we have to. We understand now.
"We talk a lot about moments in a game, the fluidity of a game, how a game changes sometimes and you don't have a lot of the ball."
Welsh coach Robinson this week conceded he didn't know where Ballarat is, but is confident of Wanderers getting a result when visiting United's home away from home.
"They're an experienced team, a settled team, and they've got experienced players in key areas," Robinson said.
"We know they've got danger men, but so have we."
STATS THAT MATTER
* Western United have never tasted defeat against Western Sydney Wanderers, with two wins and a draw in their three previous encounters.
* Western United have scored three or more goals in 10 of their 35 games since joining the A-League - the highest percentage of any team in the competition.
* Western Sydney Wanderers have won only one of their last 14 games in Victoria, with four draws and nine defeats, and have failed to keep a clean sheet during that period.