Heart's chance to shine

Friday night's much-anticipated Melbourne derby will give Melbourne Heart their first chance to emerge from the substantial shadow of Melbourne Victory, according to midfielder Matt Thompson.

Friday night's much-anticipated Melbourne derby will give Melbourne Heart their first chance to emerge from the substantial shadow of Melbourne Victory, according to midfielder Matt Thompson.

Heart is set to go into the match without any fresh injury concerns, with captain Simon Colosimo certain to take his place despite injuring his neck in the recent 4-0 loss against Brisbane. With Victory set to regain their inspirational skipper Kevin Muscat, the scene is set for a classic first edition of the first true Hyundai A-League derby.

Thompson said the match is as much of a measuring stick of where Heart are at the moment as it is about bragging rights in the Victorian capital.

"Melbourne Victory have shown over the past few years that they are a top team. For us, it's not a situation where we beat them and all of a sudden we are a top team. It's just a matter of wanting to get amongst that Melbourne derby," he said.

"Until we start to succeed, we are always going to be in the shadow of Melbourne Victory. We want to put in a massive performance, no doubt, but if we can win that game and we lose the next three, than there's no point. This is no different than any game in terms of that, but it makes it that bit extra special."

Thompson said the week delay in the match because of the AFL Grand Final replay had only heightened the anticipation ahead of the clash.

"(The week off) has given us time to work on a few things. We'll start to taper off over the next couple of days and now that the AFL has finished there is a bit of a vibe going around in the papers and what not. All the events of the week pumps up the game a bit more. We're expecting close to 30,000, which will be a great atmosphere. We're up for it," he said.

Despite the perception that Heart would have wanted to get back out there and play as soon as possible after the 4-0 humbling to Brisbane, Thompson said the extra recovery time and preparation for this match could work in his side's favour.

"When you finish the game, you want to play the next day. With the circumstances that we've had, it's given us time to work on a few things. There was a few injuries after that game and it gave a few of us a chance to get fitter and get rid if those niggling injuries," he said.

"For a game like this, if nobody can be picked up and ready to go, then you don't deserve to be playing."