Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van’t Schip said the Melbourne Derby remains a “special” game on the Hyundai A-League calendar and tomorrow’s 12th edition is set to be a “massive” match at AAMI Park.
Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van-t Schip said the Melbourne Derby remains a “special” game on the Hyundai A-League calendar and tomorrow-s 12th edition is set to be a “massive” match at AAMI Park.
Van-t Schip has coached the Red and White six times in the Melbourne Derby, recording two wins, three draws and only one loss and will look to add to the wins column in his second stint at the helm of Melbourne Heart.
During his playing career, van-t Schip featured in fiercely-fought derbies including the ‘Derby della Lanterna-, while playing for Genoa against Sampdoria in Italy.
“I love those games; they are special, everybody says they are equal as other games, I don-t think so, it-s a special game within the competition but we prepare in the same way,” van-t Schip said.
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“Every derby is big, we have had a few big derbies already; we have played and we are still at the bottom of the table, they [Victory] are almost at the top so for us it-s an important game as it is for them, but for different reasons.
“We always have to do the same preparation and put in the same effort every time and the Victory will prepare and be ready to play this game as well.
“We had a good week of training; [the] players are looking sharp and we will need that for sure because it is a massive game.”
In what will be the 12th edition of the Melbourne Derby, the Red and White will be looking to square the ledger with Victory, having won three times, lost four and drawn four since the inaugural clash in 2010.
This season-s Melbourne Derby narrative commenced in October with a 0-0 draw at Etihad Stadium, before 10-man Melbourne Heart succumbed 3-1 to their city rivals after the dismissal of Patrick Kisnorbo at AAMI Park in December.
But having enjoyed a resurgence in 2014, a fourth derby triumph is on the cards for Melbourne Heart.
“The results of the last few weeks have given the boys a big boost and confidence,” van-t Schip said.
“You just work on different things and try to improve and with results that you-re getting; it-s always helping [and] it gives the boys confidence and makes them feel stronger.
“I-m concentrating on the game; the boys are concentrating on the game, the next game, that-s for me the most important thing.”
In team news, van-t Schip indicated that Harry Kewell re-joined the squad in training yesterday and if he proves his fitness is a chance to come back into the squad.
Robbie Wielart will return from a one-week suspension, while Aziz Behich and Patrick Gerhardt will miss for the same reason.
However, van-t Schip is confident his squad has the depth to cover for the loss of Behich and Gerhardt.
“[The substitutes] coming in are helping us, players that have to replace other players because of injury or suspension are doing a good job,” van-t Schip said.
“The whole team defends; the whole team attacks, so we have to help each other.”
Van-t Schip also admitted the consistency from marquee man Orlando Engelaar has been a great influence on the rest of his team mates good form.
“He is giving experience, he is giving his quality, he is getting better…getting stronger and stronger every week,” van-t Schip said.
“For me its not if he scores a goal, he is a midfield player, he has to play his game, be important for the team.”