Muscat eyes “home” derby as Finkler looms large

The fixture list says they’re away on Saturday night, but Kevin Muscat insists the derby against Melbourne City FC is a home game for his Melbourne Victory side, one they’re determined to win for themselves and their supporters.

A capacity crowd is expected at AAMI Park, with City hoping to exact revenge for a painful 5-2 loss in the first meeting between the teams back in Round 3.

Preview: Melbourne City FC v Melbourne Victory

There’s more than local bragging rights at stake for the Big V, with Victory able to go top on goal difference, at least temporarily, ahead of Perth Glory, who host the Central Coast Mariners later the same night.

“There’s no doubt it’s a different week, it’s a special week,” Muscat told reporters at training on Friday.

“We want our fans and members to go to work on Monday morning with a smile on their face. We’ve prepared accordingly for it, it’ll be an exciting night.

“We will get at them, we’ll put them under enormous pressure. It’s a home game for us, we love playing here. We’ll turn up … with a real positive attitude, a lot of determination, a lot of tempo.”

According to Muscat, no special mention of the importance of winning the derby is needed as far as the players are concerned, with Victory squad hard-wired to produce their best week in, week out.

“It doesn’t get discussed because it’s just par for the course,” he said.

“Our players are fully aware of that, our football club is fully aware of that. We’re prepared for these games because we’re playing them every week. It’s a massive game every week at this football club.”

Guilherme Finkler is back in full training this week but the Brazilian playmaker is no certainty to come straight back into the starting XI.

“We’ve got to be sensible about it,” Muscat said.

“Gui’s trained really well this week. It’s a good position to be in. Someone of Gui’s calibre comes back into the reckoning and he puts pressure on people. 

“We’ve got a lot of depth in the squad and that’s healthy for us.”

Captain Mark Milligan will serve the first match in a three-game ban, with Leigh Broxham likely to partner Carl Valeri in midfield and Nick Ansell to join Adrian Leijer at centre-back.