Sydney FC ready for new era under Steve Corica
Sydney FC will enter a new era without three of their most important figures in recent years when they begin the defence of their FFA Cup title on Wednesday night.
New coach Steve Corica will take charge of the Sky Blues for the first time in an official fixture for their clash with NPL NSW outfit Rockdale City Suns.
He succeeds Graham Arnold, who has departed the A-League club to take charge of the Socceroos.
But Corica will be without Bobo and Adrian Mierzejewski, two of the biggest reasons why Arnold's Sydney FC outfit was so successful.
Bobo banged in 52 goals in his two seasons with Sydney while Mierzejewski took out the Johnny Warren medal last season, while scoring 15 goals and laying on nine assists.
The loan signing of Daniel De Silva from Central Coast goes some way towards filling the void they have left in the final third, but Corica has his work cut out on the recruitment front to truly replace the import pair.
"We've lost a lot of goals between the two of them but that's football," Corica said on Tuesday.
"They do well, they move on.
"It's my job now to replace them ... but it takes time, you can't rush into decisions."
Even without Bobo and Mierzejewski on deck, the Sky Blues will be expected to comfortably account for Rockdale.
But the FFA Cup serves up the occasional upset and Sydney's state-league opponents will be desperate to spring one on the current holders.
Among them is Rockdale's player-coach Paul Reid, who played for Sydney in the 2012-13 campaign and is employed as the club's community football officer.
"Of course, everyone wants to beat us. We're the holders," Corica said.
"But that's every game for Sydney FC, there's always pressure on us to win games.
"We expect a good performance."
The Sky Blues will be one of three A-League teams in FFA Cup action on Wednesday night.
The other two, Adelaide United and Central Coast, play against each other.
Elsewhere, Victorian powerhouse Heidelberg United will host the Charlestown City Blues of Newcastle.
Armadale SC, who are based in Perth's south-eastern fringes, will embark on one of the longest road trips in cup history when they travel nearly 3500km to meet Cairns FC.
Previously known as Far North Queensland Heat, Cairns FC have made the round of 32 every year since the tournament's inception in 2014 but are yet to win a match.