Maclaren urges fans of both sides to build raucous crowd at high-stakes Melbourne Derby
Jamie Maclaren says fans of both Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City are in for a show at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, as both sides approach the contest with a point to prove.
The local rivals meet at Marvel Stadium on Saturday evening on conflicting runs of form. City notched a convincing and routine 2-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Matchweek 10 whilst Victory lost 4-3 to Western United in a see-sawing contest.
The respective results left Melbourne Victory dead last on the A-League table, whilst City surged into seventh, showing glimpses of the sparkling form which helped Maclaren's side reach a club-first Grand Final in the 2019/20 campaign.
With the Marvel Stadium capacity increased to 50% for this weekend's Melbourne Derby, Maclaren says the bigger crowd the better - no matter which club the fans support - to help the fans thrive off the atmosphere surging through the stands.
"You want bums on seats," Maclaren told the press on Thursday morning.
"If there was any message I could have now it’s for fans to come on Saturday. Both teams will be entertaining, I think Victory has a point to prove and we also have a point to prove.
We want to show that the last two games we’ve played haven’t been a random occasion, they’ve been us getting back to form, and having bodies back - and quality bodies back."
Maclaren continued: "It would be nice to get as many (fans) as we can, because it makes for a great atmosphere and for both sets of sides and fans going at each other and making it a quality atmosphere.
"The boys that have played overseas, they know all about that, and I want to show them Melbourne can have some good atmosphere as well.
"If you could take the restrictions away and allow fans to come back into the stadium, I think it is a massive fixture and one both teams look forward to.
It's a first taste of Melbourne Derby action for Victory midfielder Jacob Butterfield, but the Englishman proved he is up to performing on the big stages in the Battle of the Bridge in Matchweek 10, scoring his first A-League goal from long range in his side's clash with Western United.
With close the 350 games of experience in the English Championship, Butterfield has had his fare share of exposure to crunch fixtures like the one presenting on Saturday night.
He let his experience show in a calculated explanation of his pre-match thoughts.
"There’s obviously a lot more on it for the fans, and the players. It gives (you) a massive boost to get a big win in a derby. But it’s sort of the same as any other game," Butterfield said.
"Tactics are always important, just playing the game and not the occasion - it’s a game of football at the end of the day, you just go out and play, and the best team will win.
For us, Melbourne Victory, with everything that’s happened this season we don’t need any (more) motivation for this game, with where we are in the league.
It will kick-start our season, so we’re ready to go."
Saturday night's showdown offers City frontmen Andrew Nabbout and Maclaren to play a third consecutive game alongside each other in attack. The pair, together with English winger Craig Noone, have looked an increasingly dangerous proposition to A-League defences in two impressive wins over Sydney FC and the Wanderers.
Maclaren has scored four goals in two games since Nabbout's return from a hamstring injury, benefiting greatly from the former Victory forward's stretching of play down the right flank.
Maclaren says Nabbout is expecting to cop a few boos from a vocal home crowd on Saturday night.
But the new City striker believes he'll have no issue blocking out the noise directed his way from the Victory faithful.
"I’m going to be on the other side of the derby this year, which is going to be interesting," Nabbout said.
"But I’m excited, I’ve always loved playing in big games like this and it’s just that I’m going to be on the other side of it this year.
"I’m expecting a big game for both sides, it’s important for both of us.
It’s water off my back, to be honest. I’ve copped it everywhere I’ve gone.
"People are going to think what they’re going to think anyway, so I can’t change people’s minds.
"I try and block it out as much as I can... I’m going to be concentrating too much on trying to beat the player ahead of me, rather than what I’m copping from the crowd."
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