Newcastle Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich is the consummate professional but he admits he'll be slightly distracted as he prepares to warm-up for today's clash with Sydney FC at WIN Stadium.
As the Bulli product prepares to tackle the Sky Blues in the A-League trial game, he'll have one eye on the Illawarra Premier League major semi-final between Port Kembla and Bulli.
As Bulli take on a highly-fancied Port Kembla, who have won their past 16 Illawarra Premier League games, Zadkovich is still pinning his hopes on an upset.
"Bulli are playing in the curtain-raiser and that's my home club, so I'm really looking forward to going down there and watching those boys," Zadkovich said.
"A lot of those blokes are still my mates and friends and it's going to be great to watch them play before us.
"I'll be watching them as long as I can. I'll probably try to skip the warm-up just so I can keep watching.
"I want to see them get up. It'd be brilliant. Bulli for life mate."
The Illawarra product is looking forward to playing on the pitch where he began his career.
"I can't wait, it should be really good," he said.
"I've got a lot of friends and family that are keen to come and watch.
"I'm really looking forward to being back home and playing at WIN Stadium. I remember playing there for Wollongong Wolves in the old NSL Youth League, so I've got good memories there and it's really nice to be going home and playing a proper A-League friendly there.
"I'm sure the boys will love playing on that surface and at that stadium."
The match will continue a pre-season that began with Zadkovich's return to the Socceroos side - five years after making his debut - at the EAFF East Asian Cup in July.
"It was a big thrill to be back playing for the Socceroos again," he said.
"It had been a long time coming and some pretty hard times going through injury, so to get back in the off-season and play a couple of times for Socceroos was a real big thrill and something that I'll be very proud of looking back later on."
Zadkovich was joined on international duty by a number of Jets teammates and the skipper believes the experience could lift Newcastle into the finals after missing out last year.
"We've had a lot of boys go on and represent Australia at some level and I think that's certainly going to give us some experience and confidence going into this season," he said
"We had a bit of an inexperienced and young squad [last season] and a lot of those boys have come on a lot. With a couple of new signings and those boys having improved and benefited from last year, we're definitely aiming to make the finals."
The Jets proved they have the talent to challenge the top sides in notching victories over grand finalists Central Coast and Western Sydney Wanderers last season but Zadkovich said consistency will be the key.
"We knew that on our day we could beat anyone; the problem was consistency," he said.
"I think for young players the hardest thing is to be consistent.
"You can have one week up and one week down and as you get older that levels out and you have more solid and consistent performances.
"I think those boys would have learned a lot out of last season. They were thrown in the deep end a little bit but now it doesn't even feel like we have a young squad.
"It feels like we have a squad full of first-team professionals and we're ready to go on and show what we can do this season."
Many football fans view today's match at WIN Stadium as Wollongong's A-League audition and, drawing on his experience as Newcastle skipper, Zadkovich said he would love to see a team established in his home city.
"It's not too dissimilar to where I am in Newcastle," he said. "It's a similar set up geographically and in its football population.
"Hopefully there's a big crowd there and people really get out there and support it because I think that'll show what their intentions are and that people want a team down there.
"Newcastle has been pretty successful, the membership drive is pretty high and we've always had a good fan base every year.
"I really think Wollongong is not dissimilar to that and I think if they got a team it would be successful."