Zahra Targets Melbourne Derby Comeback

Melbourne Heart FC rising star Adrian Zahra has earmarked week three’s meeting against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium as his comeback match following the announcement of the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 competition draw.

Melbourne Heart FC rising star Adrian Zahra has earmarked week three-s meeting against Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium as his comeback match following the announcement of the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 competition draw.

The Red and White will renew its rivalry with the blue half of Melbourne on Saturday October 22 in the eagerly awaited latest instalment of the Hyundai A-League-s only cross-town derby.

After splitting the fixtures one apiece last season, the encounter will provide Melbourne-s two tribes with a chance to edge ahead in the head-to-head stakes in a match-up which has already developed into one of the most hotly contested in Hyundai A-League history.

And as one of the key players during the inaugural Melbourne Derby series last season, Zahra is keenly anticipating his return to action from injury against Heart-s local counterpart.

“It-s definitely an exciting prospect to potentially return to action against the team and at the ground where I sustained my injury in January,” Zahra said.

“While my rehabilitation is going very well and is ahead of schedule, we certainly aren-t rushing the process. I-m simply focusing on my target of returning during week three of the season.”

Heart will host Victory at its home ground, AAMI Park, on Friday December 23 in a Christmas blockbuster before meeting for a final time during the regular season on Saturday February 4.

After opening the previous Hyundai A-League campaign at home, Heart has again been bestowed with the honour of helping to usher in the latest season of Australia-s top flight in the Hunter Valley.

The Red and White will travel across to Ausgrid Stadium in Newcastle to face the Jets in the opening match of the season on Saturday October 8 before staging the first of 13 home matches the following week against Perth Glory on Sunday October 16.

A notable feature of the 2011/12 fixture is the introduction of a regional match; which will see Heart take on the Central Coast Mariners at a to-be-determined venue on Wednesday January 25 in an initiative set to further strengthen football-s ties with the grassroots community.

Chief Executive Officer Scott Munn is pleased with the outcome of the Hyundai A-League 2011/12 draw, stating the reduction in the number of midweek matches will enable teams to field their strongest sides each week.

“With 13 home matches and the addition of a regional round, the new fixture has ensured the Hyundai A-League draw will be equitable among all Clubs, which is a fantastic step forward for the competition,” Munn said.

“The scheduled series of regional matches is another wonderful initiative which much like our Westpac Community Football Festivals will enable us to spread the word of football by bringing the Hyundai A-League to new frontiers.

“The draw most certainly represents a significant progression in all areas and we look ahead with anticipation to the first match of the season in 130 days time.”

Melbourne Heart FC Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Fixture Highlights

• 10 of 13 home matches at family friendly weekend kick-off times • Heart never away from home for more than two weeks in a row • Two Melbourne Derby match-ups to be staged at home - December 23 and February 4 • Club to face Central Coast Mariners at regional venue Red and White to host Adelaide United during innovative Hyundai A-League marathon on January 4