Heart time for Gold Coast

Buoyed by their maiden win of the Hyundai A-League season, Melbourne Heart travel north to take on Gold Coast United on Friday, a side whose season so far has in many ways mirrored their own.

Buoyed by their maiden win of the Hyundai A-League season, Melbourne Heart travel north to take on Gold Coast United on Friday, a side whose season so far has in many ways mirrored their own.

The trip to Skilled Park will be the first of four tough assignments on the road for the Heart in the space of five games with away visits to Gold Coast, Central Coast, Brisbane and Perth sandwiched either side of a home game with Wellington.

With Gold Coast competitive and perhaps unlucky in more than one of their matches, including late losses to both Sydney and Adelaide in their past two encounters, the clash should provide an insightful glance as to how both respond to indifferent starts.

Heart, too, conceded late equalisers in back-to-back matches with Sydney and Adelaide but after that a frustrating start, they produced a breakthrough 3-0 win over Newcastle at AAMI Park last Saturday.

Having posted a win, Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip can sympathise with his Gold Coast counterpart Miron Bleiberg.

"I've seen both games (Gold Coast's past two matches)," van 't Schip said.

"They had a very good 60 minutes against Sydney and also against Adelaide but (Adelaide) came away very (lucky) with a few great saves off Eugene Galekovic."

"That's the way it is, we had it in the first games and they are having that (bad luck) now."

Gold Coast threw away a 2-0 lead in Sydney (3-2) and in many respects had the better of Adelaide last Friday in a 2-1 loss, while Patrick Zwaanswijk's equaliser for Central Coast with three minutes to spare, stung United in Round 2.

"The teams are very close. There was not one game that they got outplayed or were not there, maybe against Brisbane but they did very well against Brisbane in the first half," said van 't Schip.

"We know they have up front (Dylan) Mcallister who is very physically strong, they have (Ben) Halloran who is a very fast young player and in the midfield it is very stable. Robson as well is a very good player on his day he can be one of the better players in the league."

Dutchman van 't Schip was also full of compliments for United's trio of fellow countrymen who he believes have stamped their mark on the league.

"They have (Maceo) Rigters who is physically strong. (Paul) Beekmans is a Dutch player and has very good vision and is getting more and more important for the team and is giving them structure. Peter Jungschlager is also a young player who's making an impression."

Heart will be without three members who started against Newcastle, in Mate Dugandzic, Aziz Behich and Jason Hoffman, while Gold Coast will have to do without influential midfielder James Brown and right-back Dylan McGowan who are all away on Qantas Olyroos duty.

In spite of that van 't Schip said confidence was high after the side registered its first win.

"(The) feeling is good. Everybody knew that it was a very important game and we were still waiting for our first win, we were the only team that had not yet had a win. In the second half we played with a lot of confidence, we scored more goals than we have ever done. That was a very positive sign and we will take that with us this week."

"But we also know after a win you can go both ways, you can take it easy. We're not a team that can take it easy. We have to fight, be competitive and be to be in the game right away to get a result. The players realise that it's only a small step we made," he said.