Franjic ready to repay faith


Victory defender Petar Franjic is aiming to repay coach Mehmet Durakovic’s faith in him during Friday night’s Melbourne derby.

Victory defender Petar Franjic is aiming to repay coach Mehmet Durakovic’s faith in him during Friday night’s Melbourne derby.

Franjic has been a back-up for captain Adrian Leijer and Rody Vargas since arriving at the club at the beginning of last season.

But the 19-year-old is now keeping Vargas out of the side after initially replacing him three weeks ago when the veteran was suspended for two matches.

Franjic knows he must stay at the top of his game to hold his place in the side with Vargas waiting in the wings and said it was a testament to the club to have so many good players vying for spots.

“It just shows how strong the team is and how competitive the places are and I’ve been given an opportunity from the coach and hopefully I can repay it and play well because I know Rody will always try and get back into the team,” he said after training on Tuesday.

“Just as a player in general, the more games you get the more confident you feel and I’ve had three games in a row now and feeling a bit more confident, but always knowing that I’ve got to keep performing because other players are available for selection as well.”

“Everywhere throughout the team, there are some good players that aren’t even on the bench in the last couple of weeks. If someone gets injured or suspended we’re always believe that the players that come in can do the job.”

With AAMI Park likely to be a sell-out for the much-anticipated clash, Franjic acknowledged that it’s the biggest game of the season in terms of hype, but added that it would be folly to focus on this match more than any other.

“You probably just take it week to week. Obviously it’s a big game in terms of the clubs and supporters and whatnot, but you don’t want to start not focusing on the game at hand. It’s a big game and (we’ll) take it as it comes,” he said.

“It’s bigger than any other game and it’s good for football in Melbourne and Australia that there is such a big game and such a big atmosphere and build up to a game so hopefully it can live up to expectations.”

There has been recent talk from the enemy camp claiming to be the number one team in Melbourne, but Franjic said the proof will be in Friday’s night clash.

“They’ve got to have their own goals as a club and that, but we’ve probably over the long run been the bigger the club in Melbourne and we’ll just see what happens on Friday,” he said.

“We’re feeling confident. Our last four performances have been better and we feel like we’re starting to gel more as a team and hopefully we can build from that and get a good performance.”

Victory star trio Archie Thompson, Harry Kewell and Adrian Leijer all missed training on Tuesday, but are expected to line-up with Billy Celeski the only unavailable player through suspension after he was sent off against the Phoenix.