Central Coast coach Tony Walmsley has kicked off the mind games ahead of their Boxing Day stoush with Sydney FC, saying Graham Arnold's side are not a free-flowing team and give opponents a chance to beat them.
The fourth-placed Sky Blues have been defensively rock solid, boasting six clean sheets and a league-low nine conceded goals.
But they have had difficulties converting opportunities into goals, with only 11 from their last 11 games.
Arnold's men also have only one win from their past seven attempts, leaving them low on confidence and aching for a victory.
Their best shot yet is at Allianz Stadium on Saturday against the unfancied Mariners, who sit a sorry five points clear at the bottom of the table and have been firing blanks for 10 consecutive winless matches.
But Walmsley was upbeat that his youthful side, which lost 3-1 to Sydney with 10 men in October, could give last season's grand finalists a right scare.
"Hard to beat, resilient," Walmsley said on Wednesday when asked to describe Sydney's form.
"They've turned a couple of wins into draws for themselves, which won't be good for their confidence.
"They're not a prolific, free-flowing, free-scoring team. They give teams a chance as they've shown, and teams have nicked draws off them lately.
"You go in there knowing that you're a chance, and knowing that again that with the right level of belief and the right speed on the ball, with the ability we've got we can hurt them."
Walmsley backed the returned Fabio Ferreira, in combination with fellow winger Mitch Austin and striker Roy O'Donovan, to pose a threat.
Ferreira played less than 15 minutes as a substitute in Sunday's 1-0 loss to Brisbane, and is expected to start on the bench again as he improves his match fitness following a lengthy injury lay-off.
"I'm feeling good," the Portuguese star said.
"So hopefully it keeps that way.
"Nobody wants to be injured and out, but now I'm back I just want to keep fit until the end of the season."
Walmsley also indicated he would likely drop Storm Roux back to right-back, after starting the defender on the right wing against the Roar.