Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer says his side is trying to keep a lid on the build up to Friday’s maiden derby with cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart.
Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer said his side is trying to keep a lid on the build up to Friday’s maiden derby with cross-town rival Melbourne Heart.
With two wins and five draws from their opening nine Hyundai A-League matches, Victory sit in fifth position in the standings and with Heart in 11th, also with just two wins, points for both sides are at a premium.
But just days away from potentially the biggest game in A-League history, Leijer says Victory boss Ernie Merrick is trying to approach the match like any other.
“We do have to treat it like any other game, Ernie’s not going to want to change anything just because it’s a derby,” Leijer said.
“But in saying that it is a very special game – the first ever Melbourne derby – so it’s something to be very excited about.”
Victory has played out goalless draws in their last three games and have registered just nine goals for the season, but Leijer said he has faith the front men will find the net again soon.
“We’ve been creating chances and we’ve been working on our goal scoring, but I think collectively as a unit we’ve been defending very well so that’s something we’re not going to let up on or take for granted,” he said.
“If we can do our job at the back I’m more than confident with the boys up the front that they can get the job done down the other end.”
The game marks the return to the Victory side for skipper Kevin Muscat after he suffered an ankle injury in their 3-0 win over the Brisbane Roar on September 12, and Leijer said the side will draw strength from the inclusion.
“It’s great to have him back. He’s come back from his ankle and he’s looked good in training. There’s no better person you’d want on your team for a game like this. Musky’s our leader, the man we look to for inspiration and to have him back’s fantastic.”
Leijer said he looked forward to the derby clashes becoming a fixture on the Melbourne sporting calendar, and predicted an entertaining tussle at AAMI Park on Friday night.
“We’re two football teams in Melbourne now and that’s what it’s all about. There’ll be three derbies a year and you want to win every one basically. We’ll be out there doing our best and hopefully we can make our fans proud.”
“I think it’ll be pretty full-on. It is going to be an arm wrestle but it’ll be an action-packed arm wrestle.”
“Both teams have got pride on the line.”