Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna fears the effect of the Mariners' long-running winless streak could carry into the new A-League season if they don't put it to bed against Tianjin Teda on Tuesday night.
The Asian Champions League match against the Chinese side at Bluetongue Stadium is a dead rubber with neither side able to progress from Group H with one match to play.
But McKinna says his men still have plenty to play for and are highly motivated to break a horror winless run that now stretches back 10 games to New Year's Eve.
With the start of the expanded A-League season looming in August, McKinna has promised to give his squad a makeover but he doesn't want his new team inheriting demons.
"We've got a fair bit of pride to play for against Tianjin," McKinna said.
"We've not won a game (this year) and everyone keeps reminding us and if we don't win, people will just carry that on.
"It will be a new squad and new players but it will still carry on.
"It would be nice to come into a new season coming off a win in our last game."
Central Coast, although virtually assured of finishing last in their group, have been far from disgraced in their maiden ACL venture.
Aside from a 5-0 thumping by Japan's Kawasaki Frontale in Gosford, they managed two draws and two one-goal losses, mostly let down by sloppy defending at crucial times.
"Apart from the one bad one against Kawasaki, the other games have been close and could have gone either way," McKinna said.
"But a few bad slip up defensively have cost us so it would be nice to get at least a win in the ACL just for our confidence."
The Mariners go into the match without their three main strike weapons in Matt Simon (knee), Dylan Macallister (shoulder) and Nik Mrdja (hamstring).
That will force a makeshift strike pairing of usual wingers Adam Kwasnik and Adrian Caceres.
Andre Gumprecht (groin) is also in doubt but the Mariners do get Matt Osman back from injury and Nigel Boogaard from suspension.
Tianjin, who upset Kawasaki in their last ACL match, will also field a weakened team, with foreign players Eber Luis, Damiano Tommasi and Jean-Philippe Caillet all left at home.
But Tianjin's on-loan Australian striker Mark Bridge has made the trip and could play.