Former Melbourne Heart and Qantas Socceroos midfielder Josip Skoko believes Heart are poised for more success in 2012-13.
Josip Skoko may not have featured in Melbourne Heart's campaign last season where the Club secured a finals berth and finished above city rival Melbourne Victory.
But Skoko is one player who knows all about donning the Red and White and playing in the Melbourne Derby.
And the former number 20 senses the Red and White's positive record in the derby will continue this Friday night.
Since Skoko's maiden Hyundai A-League season when the Heart found its feet and finished eighth, Skoko believes the Club has moved onwards and upwards, earning a finals berth in just its second season.
Now, with Heart's third campaign looming, Skoko believes the Club can continue its upward pursuit and secure a second consecutive finals berth and kick off the season with a win against Victory.
“Reaching the finals for the first time was a major step in the club-s history last season,” Skoko said.
“Things that weren-t perhaps right in the first year, got better in the second and it looks like in the third year now, the team is stronger again.
“I think the team is better again this year so I think anything less than a finals berth again this year will be a disappointment, especially for the coaching staff and also for the players."
Skoko was part of the Heart-s inaugural leadership group and was the Australian marquee player featured in two Melbourne derbies in the 2010-11 season.
New Head Coach John Aloisi scored three goals across those two games. Now at the helm of Heart, Skoko believes his former Socceroos teammate can take Heart to new heights.
"John [Aloisi] has obviously played and coached with [John] van't Schip last year I think that can only be a positive," Skoko said.
“I think the coaching team will do really well and I think the guys are responding to them quite well and all in all it-s looking really positive.”