Heart focussed on Gold Coast
Derby, what derby? That's the message from Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip, who has eyes only on Wednesday night's home clash against Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium.
Derby, what derby?
That's the message from Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip, who has eyes only on Wednesday night's home clash against Gold Coast at Etihad Stadium.
Sure, Derby III which sees Heart play cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory rolls around three days later, but the affable Dutchman says Heart's focus is squarely on a pivotal clash against Miron Bleiberg's men.
"The most important thing for us now is to focus on Gold Coast, get a good result and then everything after that we'll see on Thursday," van 't Schip said.
Currently seventh on 31 points from 25 matches, Heart cannot afford any slip ups with the finals series fast approaching.
They are one of four clubs chasing two available spots with fourth-placed Gold Coast virtually secure in the playoffs.
Coach van 't Schip has the luxury of calling on a close to full-strength squad for the clash, but is mindful with three matches in the space of a week to spread the load throughout his squad.
That may mean the returning Simon Colosimo could start off the bench alongside Alex Terra and Gerald Sibon, both of whom have provided great impact in recent weeks.
"It's not like a normal week, we have played in Perth, playing tomorrow and playing Saturday," van 't Schip said.
"Normally I think they (Terra) and Sibon would be, for example if we had a week off after the game then we could say they are going to play 90 minutes and have a rest after that."
"Simon had a full session yesterday (Monday) with the players, but we have to see if he-s ready for 90 minutes."
"We have to see that we get fit players on the pitch, that's the most important thing now. The good thing is we've almost got every player fit, only Eli (Babalj) is not able to play."
But there is some doubt surrounding the fitness of Dutch winger Rutger Worm, who didn't train with the team on Tuesday.
Gold Coast has been boosted by the recent return of star New Zealand striker Shane Smeltz and van ‘t Schip is expecting a slight different United side from what they met earlier in the season.
"The last game they got a good player back in Shane Smeltz, and had a good win," van 't Schip said.
"I think they are coming here for the same we are, to get the three points. It's not going to be a game where one team will sit back and get a draw."
"We know they play a bit different (with Smeltz back), two strikers next to each other. We'll take that into consideration, but that doesn't change our way of preparing ourselves."
"We have to find a way of avoiding that they get easy balls, (but) we have to also think about supplying our own strikers."