The pain of a controversial A-League grand final loss still lingers.
But Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson is more worried about a throbbing grand final hangover.
The stage is set for a fiery 2012-13 A-League first round with Perth on Tuesday named to host their grand final conquerors Brisbane Roar on October 7.
Asked if they were still hurting from their 2-1 defeat - sealed by a dubious Besart Berisha penalty - Ferguson said: "Of course we are - it's not nice.
"It was a fantastic achievement to get there and be six minutes away from lifting the trophy.
"It's a sore one and it always will be a sore one. But we've got to learn from it."
Nothing will make up for the shattering defeat but the mention of the grand final replay brought a mischievous glint to Ferguson's eye.
"To play them so quickly after that (grand final) - there will be a bit of added spice to that one," he said on Tuesday.
However, Ferguson warned the Glory that it would not just be the Roar with a target on their backs.
He said Perth must also cope with going from the hunter to the hunted following their stellar 2011-12.
He said the lead-up to 2012-13 reminded him of his assistant coaching stint at Central Coast when the Mariners missed the finals the season after making the inaugural championship decider.
"There's a lot of expectations and quite rightly so - we're going to be a target this year," he said.
"I did it with the Central Coast Mariners under Lawrie McKinna, the next season we came back I felt as though a lot of boys had taken it easy and we ended up in seventh place.
"That's got to be a learning lesson for these boys because a lot of people will be wanting to beat them and a lot of people will be wanting to take Perth Glory's scalp this year.
"We've got to be ready for that challenge when it comes."
Brazilian winger Andrezinho and defenders Josh Mitchell, Chris Coyne and Scott Neville were among the Glory's high profile off-season departures.
Experienced defenders Scott Jamieson and Michael Thwaite are among five new arrivals at the club but Ferguson said he would not fill the final two available squad spots in the near future.
"With the budget where it's at there is basically no more cash at this moment," he said.
"Last year we had a really good, strong squad and I do believe again the squad is not as strong but what we have brought in is energy and mobility and potential for next season.
"It's going to be a difficult task but we've also got some very good experienced players that we've been able to hang onto and with that blend I'm hoping that we can push for the finals."