Melbourne City’s Thomas Sorensen will bring his immense experience of fierce EPL derbies to Saturday’s Hyundai A-League blockbuster Melbourne Derby between City and Victory at Etihad Stadium.
The 39-year-old keeper, who made an impressive debut in Australia last week, played for Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle while also featuring in the Aston Villa and Birmingham derby.
For Sorensen, he’s enjoying soaking up the build-up to a Melbourne derby, his first, and will call on all his Geordie and Brummy derby experience to help City to a famous win over the champions.
“Derbies are always great occasions but for us it is all about the three points,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“It is great for the fans, gives great atmosphere and as a player you always look forward to the derbies.
“I played a few north-east derbies and they were quite intense...the build-up and everything else. It means a lot to the fans, the club and there is the bragging rights.
“I am sure it is no different here. Derbies are intimidating and physical and you have got to be ready for anything. You have to expect the unexpected,” he said.
“You have to be ready for a fight and to try and play good football.”
On the pitch, and Besart Berisha versus Sorensen is just another reason why this Melbourne Derby looms as the biggest and best in the fixture’s rich history.
Both clubs started the season with hard-earned draws on the road and would love nothing better than to kick-start their season with a win over their bitter city rival.
Sorensen was in goal when his Denmark side crushed Berisha’s nation 3-0 in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with the Victory man unable to beat City’s shot-stopper in 85 minutes on the pitch.
Berisha was a thorn in City’s side last season, scoring five goals in the four matches between the two fierce rivals. It's going to be some battle.
“I played against Berisha when he played for Albania quite a few years back. He’s a goal-scorer, he’s a clever player, he’s proven that down here, so it’s someone you’ve always got to be aware of in and around the box because he’ll pop up,” Sorensen told the Herald Sun.
“Similar to [Sydney FC’s Shane] Smeltz, they’re clever, you don’t give them many chances [or] they’ll score. That’s something we’ve got to be aware of.
“We’ll know the players and their strengths, but it all comes down to a man-to-man thing.
“You can know everything about a player but you’ve still got to beat him on the pitch.”