Melbourne Victory is aiming to make club history when it hosts City in a Westfield W-League Derby on Sunday.
Victory is bidding to win five straight Westfield W-League games for the first time when it resumes its campaign, having last been in action on Australia Day.
It recorded a 3-0 win over Canberra United last time out, following on from successes against Perth Glory, Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United.
Victory tries to continue its run of form at Lakeside Stadium, where it hosts City in a clash moved to Sunday due to the Westfield Matildas’ Olympic qualifiers.
Captain Natasha Dowie has scored four goals in Victory’s past four games, while Amy Jackson and Melina Ayres netted braces against Perth and Canberra respectively.
With three games remaining in the regular season, Victory is three points clear of fifth-placed Brisbane Roar.
Victory is also just two points adrift of the second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC, which sits third.
It is set to regain Westfield Matildas duo Jenna McCormick and Teagan Micah, who missed the encounter against Canberra.
Victory has won four of its past six meetings with City, which is top of the table.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts
on break between fixtures…
“It’s been tough. We were on a nice roll, getting some consistency with our form and it’s most probably something we could’ve done without, four wins on the spin, just wanted to keep playing. We’ve had to deal with it and we’ve worked the players pretty hard through the weeks, but we’ve given them a bit of time off as well. We hope we’ve got the balance just about right. Obviously with the game being rescheduled this week as well it’s made this week quite a long week, but I hope that we’ve got things right. The girls are looking forward to the game, it’s obviously a big game for us, big game for City as well and obviously it being the Derby it’s got a bit of special significance for us. We’re looking forward to it and can’t wait to get back and start playing games again.”
on McCormick and Micah…
“They’ll definitely be available, hopefully they’ll get game time and obviously even with them playing on the Thursday they’ll have a bit of time then to recover for Sunday. City are in the same boat, I think they’ve got around five players that are with the Matildas. I’m really pleased for both of them, they’ve got into the squad and the Matildas have done very well so far, hopefully they win on Thursday and they come back with a real positive attitude and I expect them to win the game. It’ll be an interesting game, with the Matildas playing China, the toughest game in the group for sure, so it’ll be a physically demanding game, obviously don’t know the starting XI. For a number of players, especially the ones that have played a fair bit of game time in the other two games, it’ll be quite a taxing week physically. It’ll be interesting then to see what affect that has on the starting line-ups for both teams for Sunday’s game.”
on Derby earlier in the season…
“I think it was a very important game for us. It was a turning point for us. We realised in that game more than any other game before that we most probably needed to make changes in what we were doing, the way we were playing, to allow us to start winning games we needed to play with more attacking threat, to get more players forward and I think since then we changed our formation and we maybe changed our mentality a little bit from there as well. The game was definitely a turning point for us. It’s good that now after the games that we’ve played – I think five games since then, we’ve been unbeaten since that game, four wins and a draw – and consistently getting better and better. It’s going to be a good test for us to see where we’ve come to against what’s arguably the best team in the league, they are at the moment anyway. They’re the most consistent team and they’re sitting top of the pile. It’s going to be a real good test for us and obviously there’s that bit of extra spice with it being the Derby as well.”
Westfield W-League 2019/20 Round 5
City 1-0 Melbourne Victory
Thursday, December 12, 2019
ABD Stadium, Melbourne
Victory held firm in the Derby earlier this season, with Casey Dumont making a first-half penalty save from Emily van Egmond.
However, Yukari Kinga scored an 89th-minute winner for City.
As it stands
Melbourne Victory v City
Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT
Get tickets here!
Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 2. Rosie SUTTON, 3. Teigen ALLEN, 4. Emily MENGES, 5. Laura BROCK, 6. Haley HANSON, 8. Angie BEARD, 9. Natasha DOWIE (c), 10. Jenna McCORMICK, 11. Darian JENKINS, 13. Polly DORAN, 14. Melina AYRES, 15. Amy JACKSON, 16. Annalie LONGO, 18. Grace MAHER, 19. Lia PRIVITELLI, 30. Teagan MICAH (gk)
*two to be omitted*
Ins: 10. Jenna McCORMICK, 30. Teagan MICAH (return from international duty)
Outs: 7. Emma ROBERS, 20. MELISSA Maizels