David Carney says Sydney FC won’t underestimate Wanderers, warning if the Sky Blues don’t fight and scrap for every ball they’ll risk losing their invincible tag against their bitter cross-town rivals.
Unbeaten ladder-leaders the Sky Blues host seventh placed Wanderers in Saturday night's Sydney Derby with a chasm-like 22 point gap between the two sides on the ladder after 14 rounds.
On paper, at home and in scorching form that's seen them undefeated and scoring for fun, Sydney FC will be red-hot favourites to inflict even more derby pain on their city rivals, who haven’t won a derby in over 1000 days.
Carney added some gloss may have been taken off the rivalry by the fact the Wanderers aren’t in the top half of the league, but he warned in a one-off game, anything can happen.
“If you know a derby, anything can happen," he told reporters on Monday.
“Derbies are like that all over the world. You’ve got to be up for the fight, if not, you’ll get beaten.
"Stats don’t really count. Nevertheless, it’ll be a hard game for us and we want to keep this [unbeaten] roll going.”
Sydney FC are also rumoured to be close to signing a European defender this week.
Timely given the Sky Blues have lost key central defender Matt Jurman (sold to a K-League club last week), his replacement Seb Ryall’s injury on Sunday and Josh Brillante’s suspension.
As for Wanderers, despite losing to Melbourne City on the weekend, they drew admirers with the way they fought back from a man down and a goal down to boss large parts of their 1-0 loss to City at AAMI.
It augers well for Tony Popovic’s side, especially after Central Coast exposed some defensive frailty on Sunday in their 3-2 loss to Graham Arnold’s men.
“The Wanderers have been playing good football this year. They’ve been drawing a lot of games but what we’ve seen, they’ve controlled a lot of the games,” Carney added.
“They’ll be no easy beats for sure. They’ve a good squad with a lot of good players. It’s going to be a real hard game but also a fantastic game for the fans.
“Even when we beat them 4-0 it was still a tight game [in Round 1].
“Everyone’s looking forward to it. These are the games you want to be playing in.”
Carney played down the Wanderers’ record of derby heartache saying with a large turnover in their squad, it mitigates any losing feeling going into the derby.
“And the same with us, we have a lot of new players so we don’t really think about it.
“It’s probably stats for you guys [the media] then what it is for us," the winger, who scored Sunday's winner in Gosford, added.