Parma carried the momentum of a season-ending seven-game winning streak into the current campaign to lead the pack of teams chasing a Europa League place throughout the autumn.
Ghirardi has since watched his club win just once in 2013 before their lengthy unbeaten run at the Stadio Ennio Tardini came to an end, with Catania taking full advantage to race up to seventh place as Parma slumped to 10th.
Ghirardi told the Corriere dello Sport: "If Catania are the surprise package of the season then we must be one too.
"We've only come unstuck with a difficult set of fixtures in this second half of the season in which we have faced a lot of tough opponents.
"We have to get back to winning ways and even look beyond Sunday, knowing that we have a lot of in-form teams still to come.
"Hopefully our home advantage will return because we rarely lost at the Tardini last year."
McDonald Mariga, Fabiano Santacroce and Daniele Galloppa are unlikely to feature against Catania due to injury, but Parma head coach Roberto Donadoni has no suspension concerns.
"We have to keep our feet on the ground and stay focused," Ghirardi added. "I never said that Parma's target was a European place and I will never say that.
"We want to be at the top end of the league table but let's not forget that it's a long season.
"The first half of the season was record-breaking and I've never experienced anything like it in my time as president. Despite that, though, we'll keep our feet on the ground."
A share of sixth place with Fiorentina could be Catania's should they claim victory at the Tardini.
Head coach Rolando Maran is surprised to be locked in a battle for Europe having anticipated a struggle against relegation going into his first season at the club.
"Guaranteeing our survival this far in advance is extraordinary," he said. "But now we have to play our cards right."
Fabio Sciacca, Ciro Capuano, Pablo Barrientos and Sergio Almiron are injury doubts, while midfielder Marco Biagianti serves a one-match ban.