Ritchie De Laet insists Melbourne City are confident of overthrowing rivals Melbourne Victory ahead of their Hyundai A-League 2018/19 campaign opening derby clash.
Warren Joyce’s side will be look to prove their credentials when they make the short trip to the Marvel Stadium to take on the Hyundai 2017/18 A-League Grand Final winners on Saturday night, live on FOX SPORTS 505, Network Ten or via steam on the MyFootball Live App.
Third-placed City finished the regular season above their neighbours but are still looking for their maiden Hyundai A-League crown after falling short to Newcastle Jets in the semi-finals.
GET AROUND IT: How to watch Round 1 of the Hyundai A-League
Versatile Dutch defender De Laet, who boasts a wealth of experience at some of England’s top clubs, including winning the 2015/16 Premier League title with Leicester, has arrived on a season-long loan from Aston Villa and believes his new side are ready to compete for top honours.
He told the club’s official website: “At the training ground everyone is excited, everyone really thinks we have a good chance of being up there this season.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time but we’re quietly confident that we can really achieve something this year.
“We’re excited for the season to start. Not just because it's the derby but because it has been a long pre-season and the boys can't wait to get started.
“The gaffer has a plan in place, we're working hard on the pitch to get it right.”
De Laet does, however, insist his side are making no specific plans to neutralise the threat of Victory’s eye-catching summer signings Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen.
He added: “There’s no special plans. We look at ourselves and our own strengths and we’ll go from there.
“We’re not going to sit back and try and see what they want to do. We’re not going to wait for that.
“We’re going to try and do our game as best we can and just go from there.
“There hasn’t been any special plans for any special players.”