Entering into his second year in charge of Melbourne City’s W-League side, the task at hand is clear for Head Coach Rado Vidošić.
Named to the role in 2018/19, Vidošić’s first year in charge in Bundoora coincided with not only the first time City failed to win the W-League Championship but also the first time they failed to reach finals altogether.
Beset by player absences and injuries, the late-season surge that had categorised City’s previous season as the immense sum of their parts fell into place never materialised – the club instead missing out on finals football on goal difference.
If the term ‘reloading, not rebuilding’ has ever applied to a team, however, it refers to the group that Vidošić has assembled in Bundoora for the coming campaign.
Despite possessing the equal most miserly of all W-League defences in 2018/19 – City shipping just 15 goals during the campaign – the club has added Matildas' defenders Emma Checker and Ellie Carpenter to go alongside an already fearsome defensive contingent featuring Lydia Williams, Lauren Barnes and Steph Catley.
New Zealand international centre back Rebekah Stott, who has been playing in Norway, looms another possible mid-season addition.
In addition to the defensive reinforcement, City have added Matildas’ midfielder Emily van Egmond, Scottish international attacker Claire Emslie and Serbian international playmaker Milica Mijatović to go alongside returning stalwarts Yukari Kinga and Kyah Simon.
On paper, it’s a squad that should be neck-deep in the race for the W-League Championship, let alone a place in finals football, and Vidošić is well aware of the expectations that will come with such a high-powered squad.
“Every year we try to sign the best possible players that we can,” the City boss told The Women’s Game.
“I thought last season we had some really good players, but we had so many injuries which reflected on our results.
“You can sign many, many good players but if they don’t play, you will be affected in your results. Fingers crossed, we won’t have too many injuries and, fingers crossed, we can use all these quality players that we have recruited.
“The last three years, we just managed to get to 19 points or 20 points, so that’s one challenge this year; to get more than 20 points and to maybe to try to get as close to that season one when we had an undefeated season.
“I know it’s a little bit harder now because teams are much stronger. Brisbane have recruited really well, Sydney have recruited really well, Western Sydney have recruited really well.
"I think there’s going to be four or five teams that will challenge again and I hope that, without too many injuries, we can be in that top four and we can challenge this year.