Central Coast coach Alen Stajcic has warned his team against getting burned by Riley McGree for a second time this summer.
The Mariners will look to bounce back from a last-start A-League defeat when they host an in-form Adelaide side in Gosford on Saturday.
"We're playing our arch nemesis from earlier this year," Stajcic said on Friday.
It was McGree who broke the Mariners' hearts with a stoppage-time game-winner in their FFA Cup quarter-final clash just over a month ago.
Now the 21-year-old enters the clash in hotter form, with four goals in his past three games - two of them resulting in wins for the fifth-placed side.
"We got beaten here by McGree as well (in the FFA Cup). He's just a fantastic player in terms of mobility and forwards runs and positivity," Stajcic said.
"He'd be a welcome addition to any squad. So he's done wonders for them and he's got such a great future ahead of him."
However Stajcic urged his team not to overplay their hand against the midfielder.
"He's just one part of 11 for them. You can't just focus on McGree and let (James) Troisi go. Troisi's a fantastic player," Stajcic said.
"You've got to have a good defensive structure to nullify the whole team and focusing on one player too much can leave gaps for someone else."
Both teams will be missing a number of key players away on international duty, including Mariners trio Michael McGlinchey, Kye Rowles and Daniel De Silva.
Adelaide are without Al Hassan Toure, but George Blackwood returns from injury.
The eighth-placed Mariners, who have failed to win their past seven against the Reds, can steal fifth spot should results go their way this weekend.
"Obviously we want to make the finals at the end of the year, and Adelaide's two points ahead of us. It's a big game in respect to that," Stajcic said.
"(But) at the end of the day, it's a short-term view.
"We're really looking at the long-term view and just ensuring we play as well as we can every week and just keep improving.
"Worrying about the ladder after round four is a bit too early."
STATS THAT MATTER
* Adelaide have won their past five against Central Coast in Gosford.
* Adelaide and Central Coast have made the most errors leading to shots (three) of any A-League this team this season, with no other team having more than one.
Australian Associated Press