Lee Gaskin June 02, 2012
Canberra FC president, Marko Vrkic. Photo: Marina Neil
Canberra FC's opponents Woden Valley are bracing for the five-time league champions to come out swinging in response to coach Robbie Graham's sacking.
Long-serving club president Marko Vrkic will take the reins for tomorrow's men's ACT Premier League encounter against the competition's surprise packet at Woden Park.
Canberra FC has refused to say whether Vrkic's appointment is just for the clash with third-placed Woden Valley or for the season.
Graham was given his marching orders on Monday in the wake of Canberra FC's humiliating 2-1 loss to the previously winless Monaro Panthers last weekend.
That loss was Canberra FC's second of the campaign, dropping it to fourth on the table and six points behind leader Belconnen United.
''I don't really think it will affect them that much,'' Woden Valley coach Pat McCann said.
''The change in coaching could potentially be a change in shape and style of play.
''That produces for us an issue because we haven't had a chance to see that.''
McCann believed Canberra FC's shock defeat was a one-off and could happen to any side when it has an off day.
''Monaro had a particular plan they were able to deliver effectively and Canberra FC struggled to break them down,'' McCann said.
''They [Canberra FC] are still seen as the benchmark.
''Because of the history they've had, our approach to this week is no different to if they had beaten Monaro.''
It will be Vrkic's first game in charge since 2010 when then-coach Stan Dukic was axed 13 games into the club's unbeaten season.
Vrkic took Canberra FC to the title that year, with Graham appointed at the start of last season.
While Canberra FC is struggling, Woden Valley is riding a three-game winning streak and its best start to a season for several years.
''What we're seeing is the benefit of three years of hard work,'' McCann said.
''It was always considered a long-term project.
''The key for us is we've got to continue that for the next two rounds, so we're not getting carried away.''
The Panthers face a tough task to back-up last week's success when they host Belconnen United, while second-placed Cooma Tigers can keep the pressure on the Blue Devils with victory against Canberra City.
In today's only game, Canberra Olympic will look to close the gap on the top four when it faces Tuggeranong United at Kambah.