New coach Kat Smith is confident she can yet kickstart Western United's season and return the A-League Women club to silverware contention.
Former Western Sydney coach Smith has replaced Mark Torcaso, who stepped down to focus full-time on his job with the Philippines national team, just six weeks into the season.
Smith takes the reins of a United team that made the grand final last year but have lost three games on the bounce and sit eighth ahead of facing Adelaide United away on Saturday.
But when asked if they could still contend for silverware, Smith told AAP: "Absolutely.
"You get on a bit of a bounce and I think the league is more competitive. So whilst you might forecast the whole season and look at predictions of table finishers, I wouldn't be surprised seeing results.
"We saw the back end of last season where teams placed 10th and 11th still taking points off one and two. And I think even more so that'll happen this season as well."
Smith and the Wanderers parted ways just 10 days before this season, with Robbie Hooker replacing her, and she was unwilling to comment on the reason behind her exit, instead focusing on United.
"I've always taken the mentality and approach in life, that you look forwards, not back," Smith said.
"It's very evident that the club (United) are very much about its people and that people-first mentality, so they want good people in their environments and they know that good people will work hard.
"And with a little bit of luck, hard work will turn into good success and sustained success over a period of time."
United's clash with Adelaide is one of two games on Saturday.
The match of the round is the top-of-the-table clash between leaders Melbourne City and second-placed Perth Glory at BT Connor Reserve, which kicks off at the same time.
In Friday night's game between Western Sydney and Central Coast, assistant referee Sarah Ho will become the first person to officiate 100 W-League/A-League Women games.
Ho, who made her league debut in 2008, has been an assistant referee for a record eight WL/ALW grand finals, including the first six of the competition (2009-14, 2017, 2019).
On Sunday, high-flying Wellington will face one of their toughest tests yet when they host Melbourne Victory.
Elsewhere, Newcastle welcome Sydney FC while winless Canberra United face Brisbane Roar.
Australian Associated Press