Melbourne Heart FC’s John Aloisi is poised to make his coaching debut on the biggest stage of the Hyundai A-League regular season following the release of the 2012/13 competition draw.
Melbourne Heart FC-s John Aloisi is poised to make his coaching debut on the biggest stage of the Hyundai A-League regular season following the release of the 2012/13 competition draw.
For the third season in succession, Heart will feature in the opening match of the season as the Red and White opens its campaign away from home in the Melbourne Derby at Etihad Stadium on Friday 5 October.
After edging ahead in the all-time Derby head-to-stakes last season, the clash will provide Heart with an opportunity to reassert its strong record over Melbourne Victory in a match-up which has fast developed into arguably the Hyundai A-League-s marquee encounter.
While Aloisi is no stranger to the cauldron-like atmosphere of the Melbourne Derby, having scored three times in the fixture during his sole playing season at Heart, he admits the contest will undoubtedly provide a tough test in his first match as Heart boss.
“I got a taste of the Derby as a player, and the atmosphere was incredible both at AAMI Park and at Etihad Stadium. The match will obviously be my first as a Head Coach so I face a bit of a baptism of fire,” he said.
“I think the whole of Melbourne will focus on our game, and focus on the two teams going head-to-head on a Friday night. There won-t be any other games played that night, so I think not only the people of Melbourne, but football fans around the country will be watching the Derby.”
Following the success of last season-s ‘Christmas Derby-, Heart will once again have the chance to host Victory in the final match of the holiday season on Saturday 22 December in its only home encounter against the blue half of Melbourne.
Heart fans will need to wait until Round 2 to see their team in action at AAMI Park for the first of 13 home matches this season, with the side hosting Wellington Phoenix on Sunday 14 October.
Among the highlights of the fixture include a New Years Day clash with the Newcastle Jets and a Labour Day showdown against Adelaide United on Monday 11 March.
Adelaide and Newcastle join back-to-back Hyundai A-Champions Brisbane Roar and Grand Finalist Perth Glory as the teams to make two visits to AAMI Park during the 2012/13 season.