Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi fronted the media at AAMI Park ahead of the 11th Melbourne Derby, revealing Harry Kewell is set to start against the team's city rival.
Melbourne Heart FC have traditionally stepped up a level in the Melbourne Derby, and Head Coach John Aloisi believes that will be the case again against the Red and White-s city rival on Saturday night.
Aloisi-s side enters the match lower on the table than its rival, but is confident his side will rise to the occasion, given the Heart-s history of producing when the Melbourne sides collide.
“In derbies it doesn-t matter what form you are in, it doesn-t matter what results you-ve been getting, derbies are always different so both sides will go into this game believing they are going to win”, Aloisi said.
“We know as a Club that we have performed well in virtually every single derby so we are confident about that.
“I-ll still go back to our first year in the league when we lost 4-0 to Brisbane and then we played the first every derby and we ended up winning that game.
“Melbourne Heart love playing in the derby and we want to play well for the club and also for our supporters because we want to give them something to cheer about.”
Click play on the video below to watch the full press conference with Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John Aloisi
Aloisi said that Heart will need to make the most of their opportunities against Victory.
“We know that when we are on top of teams we need to punish them, so if tomorrow night we are on top of Victory and creating chances we need to take them and punish them and make sure that we don-t give them a sniff,” Aloisi said.
“We know what we have to do to win the game, everyone is prepared, and everyone is excited I-m sure the supporters are really excited about the game because these are the biggest games of the year.
“I don-t miss playing football that much because my knees gave way on me but these are the games that I do miss, I love playing in these big games and I know my players do too.”
Aloisi said his players wouldn-t take too much notice of Archie Thompson-s comments following a Victory training session on Thursday and is instead focused on the weekend.
“It-s easy from afar to say what-s happening, we know what-s happening inside and as a group we are working hard to get out of the situation and I think there-s no better time to play a derby,” he said.
Aloisi said that he is hopeful of a big turnout from Heart supporters on Saturday night.
“We-ve got our 7,000 hardcore supporters that come every game and I-m sure on the weekend we-ll have quite a few of our supporters here and it-s our home game so I-m sure more than half will be Melbourne Heart supporters,” he said.
Aloisi is keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of revealing who will make the cut for the starting XI, but announced captain Harry Kewell would be handed a starting berth.
“Yes he will,” Aloisi said when questioned whether Kewell would start. “Harry-s had a good week in training, the last two weeks he-s played a little bit more [gradually] the first week was 20 [minutes] then 35, - he felt good physically and his ankle pulled up well.”
“The players get confidence when Harry-s out there and he-s a big plus for us but all of the players need to perform.-