Victory all set for first-ever A-League Melbourne derby

The first A-League Melbourne derby is only days away and the excitement is building in Australia’s sporting capital.
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The first A-League Melbourne derby is only days away and the excitement is building in Australia’s sporting capital.

The established Melbourne Victory, winner of two A-League titles, take on the Melbourne Heart, who are essentially only a few months old.

Reputations will be on the line at AAMI Park on Friday night and Victory midfielder Billy Celeski says it is exciting but admits the team is heading into unfamiliar territory for their first meeting with the Heart.

“It’s a little but unknown. We are obviously going to prepare the way we always do with our own gameplan and go in and execute that and I’m sure they are going to be a tough team to play against,” he said.

“They have recruited well and they’re still finding their feet and gelling as a team and they’ve got their own pressures to deal with as well being the new club. It’s going to be an interesting game.”

Celeski also expects a bit of fire as it is the first time the Victory have had to deal with another team on their own turf but says it can only be good for building a healthy rivalry between the two.

“I wouldn’t see why not,” he said when asked if there would be some niggle. “It’s been the talk amongst the league since they got brought into the competition so if there is a little bit of feeling there it's just going to add to it and if anything it will just be better for the next one and the next one after that.

"If there is a bit of feeling there, then we’re all for it. We’re excited about it. With each game you get stuck in but a derby obviously has a bit more feel to it but we are going to prepare and we’re going to be up for this one.”

Victory defender Adrian Leijer was also under the impression that there may be some fireworks.

“I think it’s going to be pretty full-on. It is going to be an arm wrestle but it will be an action-packed arm wrestle,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a goalfest but it’s going to be a good, entertaining game and both teams have pride on the line so we’re going out there to do our job and do our job for our club.”

As for who it means more to with the little brother taking on the big brother, Leijer was adamant that neither team had more or less to gain from the contest.

“I don’ think it means more to anyone. We’re two football teams in Melbourne now and that’s what it’s all about,” he added. “There will be three derbies a year and you want to win every one basically so we’ll be out there doing our best and hopefully we can make our fans proud.”