Sydney FC coach Steve Corica has urged his players to start brightly or risk losing their stunning Sydney Derby record.
Western Sydney Wanderers have won just one of their last 15 competitive meetings against the Sky Blues in a rivalry that has proved utterly one-sided in recent years.
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But poor first-half showings in successive weeks against Central Coast Mariners (Sydney won 2-1) and Wellington Phoenix (Sydney lost 3-1) has Corica on high alert ahead of Saturday evening’s much-anticipated clash that will be shown live and free on 10 Bold from 7.50pm (AEDT).
Read on for the latest from the Sydney FC manager and a couple of players he will be trying to thwart as we count down to Derby Day!
CORICA READY FOR 'AGGRESSIVE, HIGH INTENSITY'
Speaking in his Friday press conference, Corica said:
“We need to start well in this game in especially the first half, get up and running and be on the front foot.”
“We’ve looked at them,” he added.
“We’ve got areas where we want to look to exploit and to work on with the ball.
“These games are aggressive, high-intensity games and I don’t expect anything different. Both teams look forward to this game.”
Corica said Sydney FC had spent time on their defensive work after “uncharacteristic mistakes” and “individual errors” plagued the first half of their defeat to the Phoenix last week.
“It was only the first half performance - second half was a lot better,” he said.
“[It was] a disappointing week last week for us and we want to respond and show a positive side this week.
“Derby week is an exciting week for the boys.
“They’re ready for it, they’re excited. It’s always a great game to be involved in, especially when there’s a big crowd.”
SYDNEY ‘DOWN ON CONFIDENCE’
Western Sydney Wanderers have the weapons to inflict fresh wounds on a vulnerable Sydney FC, according to Jaushua Sotirio.
"I watched a little bit [against Phoenix] and they didn't play very well," Sotirio said.
"They'll be down on confidence and we'll definitely capitalise on that on the weekend.
"They lost and we won, so we've got the momentum going into the game. They got caught out at the back.
"Their defensive line was a bit high up and some runs in behind caused them problems.
"That's the sort of run our front three makes. Whoever is playing will definitely be ready for this weekend.”
JANJETOVIC: NO BAD BLOOD WITH SKY BLUES
Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic denied he holds any ill will towards former club Sydney FC ahead of a Saturday night's must-see derby.
Janjetovic crossed the divide in 2017 and has often been a source of scorn for Sky Blues supporters, but the 31-year-old insists that has not changed his opinion of his ex-employers.
"I've never had any bad feelings towards them," Janjetovic said.
"I can't really say anything bad about them. They were good to me and I've got a lot of respect for them.
"They gave me my first opportunity to play professional football, so I have high regard for them."
Meanwhile, Wanderers boss Markus Babbel has encouraged his players not to sit back and expect Sydney FC to continue the kind of poor form that saw them lose 3-1 to Wellington Phoenix last week.
"I recognise [they have struggled recently]. But this is a derby," he said.
"It's up to us now. I'm not so focused on Sydney, I'm more focused on us. I want to see what we have done on the training pitch out on the ground."