Popovic excited for first Original Rivalry experience

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic says he’s beginning to feel the enormity of the Club’s rivalry with Adelaide United ahead of their trip across the border in Round 4.

Victory face United in enemy territory on Saturday night in Popovic’s first ‘Original Rivalry’ experience and will be backed by a large contingent of travelling fans.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Popovic told media on Friday.

“From what I’m learning, it’s a big away game for Melbourne Victory and the fans. I’m delighted to hear that our fans can travel for the first time and they’re going to come in big numbers.

“We want to put on a performance that is well worth them travelling and going through the difficulties of getting to Adelaide to support their team. We want to send them home happy and back home to Melbourne safely with three points.”

The Boss also provided an update on the squad, with Chris Ikonomidis in doubt for the clash and Brendan Hamill to miss.

Rai Marchan will serve his one-game suspension, but Roderick Miranda could return.

“Chris is doubtful. There’s a chance he’ll train today but he’ll have to tick a lot of boxes to eliminate any risk is not worth taking,” Popovic said.

“Hamill is still in the acute stage of his injury so will miss but may be a chance for next week.

“The rest of the squad should be good to go.

“We’ve had to use a lot of the squad so far with players coming back from injury and building fitness but so far we’re adapting well and we have options for players to come in and do a job.”

Victory enter the match following their first loss of the season, a 3-0 defeat to Perth Glory.

United enter in a unique position, having drawn all three games this season.

It sets up a crucial clash for both teams.

“It will be a tough game. Adelaide is very good at home,” Popovic said.

“They’re always in the game. They’re a dangerous side with a lot of speed and power.

“They’re a very aggressive team at home and showed against Melbourne City that they’re never out of the game. They were 2-0 down and once they got that first goal, the crowd lifted, and they lifted.

“It’s a difficult place to go, you have to be on-song in every part of your game. We feel like it’s a great challenge for us and one we’re really looking forward to.”