Aloisi: players know derby is a big game

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi has reinforced his side is fit, ready and raring to go for tomorrow night’s blockbuster Melbourne derby at AAMI Park against rivals Melbourne Victory.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi has reinforced his side is fit, ready and raring to go for tomorrow night-s blockbuster Melbourne derby at AAMI Park against rivals Melbourne Victory.

Insisting his players need no extra motivation after claiming bragging rights against its city rival in a 2-1 win the season opener, Aloisi told the media today his team is eager to continue its dominance over the blue half of Melbourne with a fourth win from eight derby showdowns.

A sell-out crowd will greet both teams as they renew their fierce rivalry from 7.45pm tomorrow, in front of what is expected to be a typically colourful and passionate atmosphere Aloisi is familiar with both as a coach and player.

“[The players] played in the first one, the first game of the season, so they know what it means; they know it-s a big game,” Aloisi told the media this afternoon.

“The atmosphere here at AAMI is incredible… All the players are looking forward to it and they-ve been really sharp in training and ready to go.”

Some of Aloisi-s career highlights were created in the derby, including scoring the inaugural derby goal, scoring the most goals in the derby, alongside Victory-s Robbie Kruse, and his first outing as a coach netted him an inaugural derby win.

But despite his success in the derby, Aloisi has not had to draw on past success to inspire his players.

“I don-t think in derbies you need too much motivation,” Aloisi said.

“I think the players know the game [receives] a bit more media coverage and a few more people are talking about it on the street so they know what it-s all about.

“The game means a lot because it-s a local rivalry.”

Despite a deflating visit to Bluetongue Stadium last round, Aloisi has praised the team-s positive attitude in training this week and believes it could be the catalyst for a turnaround in fortunes tomorrow.

“They-re ready for it and we-ve got players that actually step up when the Melbourne derby comes along.” Aloisi said.

“It was a difficult loss the other day and straight away in training I could see the players were over that loss and were ready for the week ahead because they know that these are the biggest games of the year.”

While a derby win will provide bragging rights, Aloisi is aware of how valuable three points could be tomorrow evening.

“In terms of the season, we-re not too far away from the top six. We know that now with the finals that if you make the top six you-ve got every chance.” Aloisi said.

“We just want to take it game by game and make sure we-re there towards the end of the season.”

Victory are sitting third on the table, having only lost one out of their last five games.

However, Ange Postecoglou-s side have only been able to claim one victory from the previous seven derbies.

Despite this, Aloisi is not taking the cross-town rivals lightly and has prepared differently for this encounter.

“Victory are a little bit different so it can-t be exactly the same [as the last encounter]. They play Milligan in the midfield who gives them a lot of balance. We have to be switched on the whole game because Archie [Thompson] and [Marco] Rojas are dangerous.”

Saturday, December 22 Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory Venue: AAMI Park Kic off: 7:45PM Referee: Alan Milliner Assistant referee 1: Nathan MacDonald Assistant referee 2: Jonathan Barreiro Fourth official: Lucien Laverdure

Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1HD and Sky Sport 3.

ABC Radio Coverage - Updates in Big Bash Coverage on local Radio Victoria

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #REDSvNIX. Follow us at @MelbourneHeart

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

Melbourne Heart FC squad: 1. Clint Bolton (GK), 2. Michael Marrone, 4. Simon Colosimo, 5. Fred, 6. Patrick Gerhardt, 8. Matthew Thompson, 9. Dylan Macallister, 10. Josip Tadic, 11. Richard Garcia, 13. Jonatan Germano, 14. GolGol Mebrahtu, 15. David Williams, 16. Aziz Behich, 17. Jason Hoffman, 18. David Vrankovic, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK), 21. Steven Gray, 22. Nick Kalmar *Three to be omitted

Ins: 13. Jonatan Germano Outs: Nil Unavailable: Benjamin Garuccio (ankle 3 weeks), Mate Dugandzic (broken foot - season),Vince Grella (fitness - undisclosed)

Melbourne Victory FC Squad: 1. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 3. Adama TRAORE, 5. Mark MILLIGAN, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 7. Gui FINKLER, 8. Jonathan BRU, 9. Marcos FLORES, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11. Marco ROJAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 16. Theo MARKELIS, 17. Jimmy JEGGO, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 21. Spase DILEVSKI, 23. Adrian LEIJER (c), 24. Nick ANSELL, 26. Andrew NABBOUT, 30. Jason GERIA, 39. Nathan COE (GK) *Five to be omitted

Ins: Spase DILEVSKI (returns from injury), Theo MARKELIS (promoted), Jason GERIA (promoted) Outs: Nil Unavailable: Nil

Hyundai Goal for Grassroots Congratulations to Sturt Marion Women-s SC for being selected as the Goals For Grassroots junior club for Round 11. By virtue of Adelaide United scoring 3 goals this round, the club received a $4000 grant courtesy of Hyundai. To nominate your club visit www.goalsforgrassroots.com.au