It’s all hands on deck at Adelaide City as Paul Pezos’ side look to wrap up the NPL SA Premiership against Adelaide Olympic on Sunday, before attention turns to Wednesday’s blockbuster Australia Cup clash against Adelaide United.

It could be argued United have taken the mantle as South Australia’s biggest club over the past twenty years, as the state’s sole representative in the national league. Wednesday provides City the chance to remind the country of their own heritage as three-time national Champions, and to achieve their best modern-era Cup result and move to the quarter-finals.

The links between the clubs are strong: Reds manager Carl Veart made his name at City from 1989-94 before heading abroad, later returning home to score the Reds’ first A-League goal before finishing his career with City. Current City president Greg Griffin is also a former Chairman of United, and has a profound understanding of what makes both clubs tick.

‘[Firstly], Sunday’s a really big game for us. We want to play our best against Olympic, who are capable of beating any team on their day, make no mistake, so we’re not going in with anything other than the expectation of a battle until the end’, Griffin told Box2Box.

‘That then leads into Wednesday night, which is a game many South Australian lovers of football probably thought they’d never see, a real game between United and City. I’m sure we’ll get a really good crowd into ServiceFM Park, and hopefully it will be our first ever packed house there.’

For all the history of the club on the national stage (supplemented by eighteen South Australian titles) Griffin is more than aware of the position they occupy within the landscape currently, and takes immense pride in seeing his players graduate out of their ranks.

‘These games provide a great opportunity for us to showcase our club, and our talented young players. We’ve got four-to-five players who in my view are at A-League quality, and at times I roll my eyes to heaven at why they’re not being recruited.

‘Last year Asad [Kasumovic] and Lachie Barr were walk up A-League [standard] players, taken straight after we played Melbourne Victory. I’m realistically hoping the four-to-five players we have, playing in a game watched by everybody including every club in the A-League, will see clubs actually say ‘yes, we’ll take him because he can clearly play at the level we require.

‘That’s what we want, to get the best players in the state at Adelaide City, and then be the easiest pathway from the NPL to the A-League.’

Griffin also feels the timing of the competition is better suited to a ‘cupset’, with City match hardened at the end of their state-league campaign while the professionals are still in pre-season – in contrast to City’s cup fixture against the Victory last November, where they went down narrowly despite the roles reversed.

‘Last season was a joke, Football Australia basically handed that game to Melbourne Victory…We were two months out of season, they were in season. The thing about the Cup, and I was involved in the setup of this when I was chairman of Adelaide United, was that the NPL clubs actually did catch A-League clubs while they were in early pre-season.

‘That’s what built the ‘cupsets’; suddenly they forced us last year to train for an extra two months to give Victory the chance to leave Victoria. I still say that’s a very tarnished win for them. I’m pleased they’ve now realised what a farce it was and it’s much fairer now.’