A battle-hardened Perth Glory side looms as a roadblock when Sydney FC kick off a crucial stretch of games away from home.
Saturday night's clash at Macedonia Park is the first of three consecutive road fixtures for Sydney as they look to reverse an underwhelming start to the A-League Men season.
Coming off a 1-0 loss to a nine-man Wellington Phoenix, in which striker Adam Le Fondre missed two stoppage-time penalties, the Sky Blues will welcome back English import Joe Lolley and stand-in captain Luke Brattan.
Lolley served a two-game suspension for his red card in Sydney's 3-0 loss to Macarthur FC, while Brattan is returning from illness.
Patrick Yazbek remains sidelined under concussion protocols.
"We've got to pick ourselves up very quickly," Sydney midfielder Anthony Caceres said.
"We have three on the road now, and while results at home haven't been great, our aim has to be to pick up as many points as we can.
"Obviously we need to lift a lot, but it's a challenge that we're looking forward to."
Sydney will come up against a Glory side unbeaten at their makeshift home ground after upset wins over Brisbane and Western United.
Tuesday night's 2-1 victory against the Roar lifted Perth off the bottom of the ladder to ninth spot, trailing eighth-placed Sydney on goal difference.
"They look dangerous, they play with a lot of enthusiasm. We're going to have to match that," Caceres said.
"We need to have the belief that we can pick up the points and start climbing the ladder. We have a squad that's capable of doing so, it's just about consistency."
Saturday night's game will be the fourth in just 12 days for Perth, whose schedule has been cramped by renovations at their regular HBF Park home.
"There's a lot of tired bodies," coach Ruben Zadkovich said.
Star attacker Salim Khelifi is unlikely to return, while Mark Beevers and Ryan Williams also face fitness tests after returning from injury on Tuesday night.
Zadkovich said fringe Socceroos striker Adam Taggart, who rejoined his old club during the transfer window, had suffered quad tightness and would have to wait up to a fortnight for his first season appearance.
Despite Sydney's wayward form, Zadkovich said he was wary of their firepower up forward.
"We'll look to expose them as much as we can in those areas of potential weakness, but we have to defend well as a collective," he said.
"They've got a million-dollar front line and we have to make sure that we're on our toes."
A third straight win for the rebuilding Glory, who finished bottom last season, could lift them inside the top six given the tightness of the ladder.
"They've worked really hard for a long period and had to endure a lot of difficult times," Zadkovich said.
"They're enjoying the rewards at the moment."