There's no place like home for Perth Glory, but coach Alen Stajcic is on guard ahead of meeting a team he still regards as the best in the A-League Men - Melbourne City.
Glory's winless run away from Western Australia extended to 14 matches following last week's lightning-delayed 3-2 defeat at Sydney FC.
That loss left Perth with just four points from six league matches this season - only one ahead of last-placed Western United.
Glory will return to the home comforts of HBF Park on Friday night when they host last season's beaten grand finalists Melbourne City.
Seventh-placed City (seven points) have also endured a poor start to the campaign, headlined by their 6-0 loss to Adelaide in round two.
That defeat led to the abrupt sacking of coach Rado Vidosic, with Aurelio Vidmar appointed as his replacement.
Vidmar has led City to two wins, a draw and a loss since taking over, but the team still has plenty of work to do to catch up with the competition's pacesetters.
Despite City's topsy-turvy start to the season, Stajcic still rates Vidmar's side highly.
"We know we're coming up against probably the best footballing team in the comp over the last four or five years, in terms of their ability to build up play, keep the ball and keep possession," Stajcic said.
"They've got so much quality on the field, and on the bench as well.
"I don't think the results have gone their way this year. But regardless of results, they're always a good team to watch.
"They are, according to most bookies, still the favourites to win the comp."
In Glory's only two games at home this season, they let a lead slip late in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle, before defeating defending champions Central Coast 2-0 on November 4.
Stajcic says his players get an "inner belief" the second they walk onto HBF Park, and Vidmar knows his team are in for a tough challenge.
"They are dangerous," the Melbourne City coach said.
"They've had a pretty tough couple of games (away from home), but they are always a difficult opponent, especially over there in Perth."
The game against Glory will be City's fourth match in the space of 14 days, as they attempt to juggle ALM and Asian Champions League duties.
Socceroos attacker Mathew Leckie is a chance to earn a starting role against Glory after featuring off the bench in the last couple of games upon his return from a knee injury.
City striker Jamie Maclaren, who scored in Sunday's 2-0 win over Newcastle, needs just three more goals to become the first player in the league to score 100 goals for a single club.
Australian Associated Press