Wollongong United coach Oliver Vrtkovski gave high praise to his rivals Bulli ahead of their blockbuster clash on Saturday.
The first-year coach couldn't speak highly enough of Ben Smith's men and was preparing his troops for a difficult assignment at Macedonia Park.
"They will be in the top two at the end of the season. They are a quality side," Vrtkovski said.
"They counter-attack quickly and capitalise on your mistakes quite quickly and are a ball-playing team who play very structured.
"They are going to be an extremely difficult side to play against."
Making matters tougher for United is the absence of defender Brendan Reilly and former Wolves attacker John Martinoski.
Reilly is set to miss the next few matches with a hamstring injury, while Martinoski was banned for four games after he was sent off in a 2-2 draw with Tarrawanna last weekend.
"The unfortunate thing for us is we haven't been able to field the same team consecutively over the past couple of weeks through injury and suspension," Vrtkovski said.
The Reds sit eighth on the ladder with their sole victory this season coming against newly-promoted Bellambi.
Vrtkovski believes a lack of fortune has played a role in United's slow start but was confident his squad could put in an improved display on Saturday.
"We have to win our individual battles, that is the key thing to me," Vrtkovski said.
"I think we have to be a bit a little bit smarter when we have got the ball and just be confident with the ball."
In other matches on Saturday, Wollongong Olympic host the unbeaten Woonona Sharks, while Fernhill search for their first win against Port Kembla.
Bellambi play Albion Park and Tarrawanna meet South Coast United.
Bellambi v Albion Park White Eagles, Elizabeth Park (2.30pm)
Wollongong United v Bulli, Macedonia Park (2.30pm)
Wollongong Olympic v Woonona, PCYC (2.30pm)
Fernhill v Port Kembla, Ray Robinson Field (2.30pm)
Tarrawanna v South Coast United, Tarrawanna Oval (2.30pm)
Dapto Dandaloo Fury v Cringila Lions, Dandaloo Sports Ground (2.30pm)