Melbourne City star Tim Cahill is expecting to cop it from Victory fans when the two sides of Melbourne collide in Saturday night’s highly anticipated derby at Etihad Stadium.
Cahill’s first appearance in the Hyundai A-League is against his new club’s fiercest rivals in front of what should be a crowd in excess of 40,000 at Etihad Stadium.
It'll come just four nights after he played at the same venue for Australia against Japan on Tuesday night.
While he is adored by Australian fans for his exploits for the Caltex Socceroos, Cahill doesn’t expect to feel too much love from the blue side of Melbourne come Saturday night.
“I’m not expecting a nice welcome. I don’t expect them to give me a clap,” he told reporters at St Kilda beach on Tuesday.
“The same way they didn’t at Liverpool when I played there [for Everton] numerous amounts of times, the same as when I was at Millwall or in New York.
“That’s the beauty of the game we play. It’s part and parcel but at the same time there would have been some Melbourne Victory supporters there last night supporting the Socceroos which I was part of.
“Whether it’s domestically, international it’s what comes with the territory.”
Cahill is no stranger to a big derby having been involved in ones in London, Liverpool, Shanghai and New York over his 18-year career.
While he’ll try and play down the hype to his teammates in the build-up, the 36-year-old knows the importance of the fixture for the club’s fans
“Any derby that’s played the biggest thing is the fans. It’s having the keys to the city for your supporters and it’s a big thing having to wake up the next morning a winner,” Cahill said.
“It’s the whole week having to live with the result. And trust me if you play with Everton or Millwall, you can’t go out for two weeks literally to put petrol in your car.
“It’s the same feeling I’m going to have going into this game.”
It’s unclear at this stage if City boss John van ‘t Schip will use Cahill from the start on Saturday night, having been involved in both games for the Caltex Socceroos over the last week plus a long flight from Jeddah.
But Australia’s greatest-ever goal-scorer says he’s ready to go.
“I’m buzzing. Even last night coming on [against Japan] was an amazing feeling.
“Playing five minutes in Saudi, 25 minutes last night, I’ve been doing extras in camp anyway.
“I’m ready to go. It depends on team selection and the away we’re going to play, but I’m ready to go.”