Bolton Expects End-To-End Derby

Goalkeeper Clint Bolton expects both sides to come out firing in an open encounter during Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby at Etihad Stadium.

Goalkeeper Clint Bolton expects both sides to come out firing in an open encounter during Saturday night-s Melbourne Derby at Etihad Stadium.

The reigning Player of the Year is poised to resume his place between the sticks for the crucial encounter, which looms as a must-win encounter for both sides despite the season-s infancy.

Despite finding the back of the net with regularity, Heart has struggled defensively this season, but the inclusion of Bolton and potential introduction of Simon Colosimo is set to reinforce the Club-s defensive line.

While Bolton acknowledged the significance of the encounter, he has refused to contemplate the prospect of failing to secure all three points.

''It's a massive game to come so early in the season. Both teams haven't won … just to think that we could lose this game has not even crossed my mind. To be 0-3 after three games is just not where we want to be,'' Bolton said.

''The fact that we have got the derby this week is perfect. It's an occasion that it's easy to get up for, so there won't be an issue from that point of view.

From previous derbies you will see a very open sort of game. I think the form goes out the window, not that either of us have any form. The thought of losing the derby doesn't even cross our minds.''

The remarkable rise of the Melbourne Derby into the sporting consciousness over the course of only 12 months paints a telling portrait for Australian football.

Gripped by the tension and anticipation only a Derby encounter can generate, Melbourne has been gripped by football fever, providing the game with a blueprint to build upon moving forward.

Bolton admits he-s surprised by the Derby-s rapid growth, and expects a season-high crowd to descend upon Etihad Stadium for the occasion.

'It's amazing after one season to have this rivalry, to a point where everyone looks forward to it. It's one of the premier games of the season … there will be a massive TV audience, hopefully 30 to 40,000, maybe beyond,” he said.

“But to think it's come so far so early, it's exactly what the FFA thought and hoped it would be.''