Wanderers striker: ‘Pressure on Victory’

His side might be the new competition favourites but Western Sydney Wanderers striker Brendon Santalab says the heat is on Melbourne Victory in Saturday night’s blockbuster clash at Etihad Stadium.

“We’re feeling good and full of confidence,” Santalab declared on Thursday.

“I feel as though all the pressure is on Victory this week.

“Last week they had a 3-2 loss in Perth and with the ACL coming up and their hectic schedule, I feel all the pressure is on Melbourne Victory.

“We’ve prepared well this week and are very excited to face the Victory after last week’s win [over Melbourne City] which we probably should have won a little more comfortably,” the striker added.

Gallery: Hyundai A-League fans special

The Wanderers celebrate one of Mark Bridge's two goals against City on Friday night.

The Wanderers currently head the Hyundai A-League by two points from Brisbane Roar, with Victory a further four points back in fourth spot.

But the league table often goes out the window when these two sides meet.

Tony Popovic’s outfit prevailed 2-0 at Wanderland earlier this season but Nikolai Topor-Stanley expects a much tougher proposition from the champions.

“It’s a massive game, there’s no denying it. It’s a game we look forward to with great anticipation,” the Wanderers skipper said.

“We always get a good travelling crowd down there, so it should be an interesting affair.

“They’re still a good team and we certainly won’t be taking them lightly. They might not have got the desired results for them, but that’s their problem.

“We’ll be prepared as always and ready for a good showdown.”

Wanderers midfielder Mitch Nichols competes for the ball against Victory's Besart Berisha and Gui Finkler.

While the Wanderers will be at full strength on Saturday night, Victory must make do without star attacker Fahid Ben Khalfallah (suspended), while Carl Valeri is still missing with an inflammatory brain condition.

But Santalab is still wary of Victory’s other major weapons.

“We know [Besart] Berisha is very dangerous, their front three is very dangerous in general,” he said.

“If we can limit them and restrict them we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”