Dugandzic enjoying return to form

With his long spell on the sidelines behind him, Melbourne Heart FC winger Mate Dugandzic is starting to find form ahead of this Saturday night's massive Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park.

With his long spell on the sidelines behind him, Melbourne Heart FC winger Mate Dugandzic is starting to find form ahead of this Saturday night's massive Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park.

Dugandzic helped to set up the winning goal against Brisbane Roar, assisting goal-scorer Orlando Engelaar with a nutmeg and perfect cross to the Dutchman and the winger is looking forward to taking on the Red and White-s city rivals.

While the team is focusing on a game-by-game approach, the Melbourne Derby is one fixture on the calendar which sparks plenty of interest.

Click play on the video below to watch the full interview with Mate Dugandzic

“Obviously [we will] just try and keep [preparation] as normal as you possibly can, try and approach it as any other game,” Dugandzic said.

“The players know and everyone involved in the Club know it-s not any game; it-s a derby and obviously everyone-s looking forward to it.

“[We want to] test ourselves, especially on the run that we-ve been going, to see whether or not we can perform [against] Victory."

Dugandzic said it was just a matter of time before the side would start picking up results.

“We always had self-belief in ourselves; obviously we were playing well during the season but didn-t necessarily get all the right results that we would-ve liked but the last 6 weeks have been fantastic for us.

“With the win against Newcastle I think that lifted everybody and we got that self-belief and confidence back to a higher level and we-ve managed to carry that on."

Dugandzic spent 11 months on the sidelines without a competitive game prior to his return in October and says the period out of the game helped him appreciate how much he loves being a footballer.

“Whenever you spend an extended period of time off the park you take it for granted,” Dugandzic said.

“Obviously I missed it immensely when I was out and every sort of footballer would.

“You do miss it and you do I suppose cherish the time more."

Despite enjoying good form and consistency now, Dugandzic explained it was initially a battle to get back into the swing of playing.

“As anyone with a serious injury, it just takes time to get back into it… I-ve been happy with the way the team's going and that-s the main thing,” Dugandzic said.

“You-ve gotta know your body again and know what to do in certain situations and try and remember how you used to play.

“Some players take shorter time than others and I suppose for me its taken a little bit longer that I would have liked, it is a small challenge to get back from a long term injury.

“With experience and a bit of a age you expect to get better slightly…obviously you want to improve every season that you play and I just want to be performing as well as I can week in week out.”

Match Details Hyundai A-League Round 21 Saturday, 1 March 2014 Melbourne Heart FC vs. Melbourne Victory AAMI Park, Melbourne Kick-Off: 7.45pm