Carl Robinson's team will face the Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night in a game that has become a full-blown rivalry following the Welshman's decision to quit the Jets for the Wanderers in October.
The game is a return to Newcastle for Bernie Ibini, less than a month after the ex-Socceroo quit the Jets to link up Robinson in a move that was criticised heavily by Jets' chief executive Lawrie McKinna.
Newly appointed skipper McGowan accepts hostile receptions are something his teammates are going to have to get used to this season.
"In most games this season there's going to be a few little subplots that we're going to have to deal with," the 29-year-old told AAP. "Obviously there's a bit of history now between us and the Jets. That just adds to the spectacle.
"Hopefully it brings more fans in, it brings more eyes on the TV game.
"Anything like that is good for the A-League at the moment.
"We're happy to play our role in that and hopefully, like I said, we can perform on Friday night and get the win for those guys."
Friday's game will also be the start of a new era for the Jets after absentee owner Martin Lee had his licence terminated and a new licence was acquired by a consortium of A-League clubs including the Wanderers.
KEY MATCH STATS
- Newcastle are undefeated in eight matches against the Wanderers, last losing to them in round 25 of the 2016-17 season.
- The Jets have never started an A-League season with back-to-back defeats.
- Irish forward Roy O'Donovan has scored three goals and made one assist in his past three appearances for the Jets against the Wanderers.