Van ‘t Schip: The Derby Is Special

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has issued a rallying cry to his troops ahead of the second Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park tonight.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip has issued a rallying cry to his troops ahead of the second Melbourne Derby at AAMI Park tonight.

A veteran of numerous derby match-ups during his playing career at Ajax Amsterdam and Genoa in the Serie A, van ‘t Schip is aware of the level of passion and excitement generated by a clash between cross town rivals.

Speaking in the lead-up to the biggest match of the Hyundai A-League season so far, van ‘t Schip told reporters that despite cries to the contrary, the Melbourne Derby holds special significance.

“There is already history to talk about and that makes it nice. That's what a derby is all about. You can say it's another game, but it's not. It's special,” he said.

While midfielder Wayne Srhoj has returned to the Heart squad after serving a two-match ban, the Red and White-s will still be without Socceroo legend Josip Skoko.

Despite training during the week, Skoko was unable to shrug off a groin complaint which has sidelined him for the match.

“He's an important player and, if fit, in combination with Wayne he did very well. We also have a lot of other players. We can deal with it,” he said.

“He's an experienced player that in games like this can give something extra. But if he's not there, the other players have to do it and they showed they can do it as well.”

Having bounced back from a series of injuries, Club Captain Simon Colosimo is eager to claim the three points as Heart seeks to reignite its campaign on Australian football-s biggest stage.

“There's no doubt it's a great to be able to play in a Melbourne derby but the number one priority is to go out there and get three points,” Colosimo said.

“We are not lagging so far behind the six that it's untouchable. We know that we are playing well. We are creating lots of chances, the stats will tell you that, but that necessarily put the points on the board.”