Preview: Melbourne Victory v Melbourne Heart

These derbies are often hard matches to predict, but if previous form between these two is a guide, then it should be an open match.

Date: Saturday October 22 Kick-off: 7.45pm AEDT Venue: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

Head-to-head Played: 3, Wins: Melbourne Victory 1, Melbourne Heart 1, Drawn: 1

Previous encounter Melbourne Victory 2, Melbourne Heart 2, Etihad stadium, January 2011

History: While the Melbourne derby concept is only a year old, it has already produced a cracking rivalry between these two teams. That was arguably helped by the fact Heart, the underdogs, won the first match 2-1. The second match ended 3-1 in Melbourne Victory's favour but it was the third encounter which really ignited the rivalry. Victory led 2-0 but a John Aloisi double saw Heart peg it back to 2-2, where it finished, but not before an infamous tackle sent Kevin Muscat to the stands.

Form: Melbourne Victory: DL Melbourne Heart: LL

Form Summary: Victory came into the season with a huge amount of hype about them because of their wealth of attacking options but are yet to find the back of the net. They drew 0-0 with Sydney in a game where the Sky Blues missed a penalty, while they gave up early dominance against Adelaide and were beaten 1-0 after having captain Adrian Leijer sent off.

Heart have been in both their matches to date and were unlucky in Round 1 against Newcastle when the Jets conjured a fortunate late winner in a 3-2 result. They were down an early goal against Perth last week, but managed to get it level from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time. But poor defence cost them as Shane Smeltz nipped in for his second and a 2-1 win for Glory. Their last competitive win came on January 2 this year.

Match Committee: Victory will likely bring in Petar Franjic for the suspended Adrian Leijer in the only enforced change. Their other concern is what to do up front, where the all-star attacking combination of Archie Thompson, Harry Kewell, Carlos Hernandez and Marco Rojas failed to produce a goal last week. Perhaps they might consider using two up front this week.

Heart should get back first choice keeper Clint Bolton for the first time this season in a major boost. Simon Colosimo will also be considered again and seems a strong chance to return given last week's defensive performance. Out of contention is skipper Fred, who has a hamstring injury. Jason Hoffman (food poisoning) will be available.

Danger men:

Carlos Hernandez - Interesting to note that three of Victory's six goals in the derbies last year were scored by a player who is no longer at the club, Robbie Kruse. Hernandez scored the second goal in the third Derby last season from a free kick and the home side will be looking for more of the same this time around.

Alex Terra - The little Brazilian proved a thorn in Victory's side in the first derby last year scoring the winner and when he is fit, he is one of the most dangerous players going around. Was very good in bursts against Perth last week.

At the end of the day…

With both sides winless after two games, there is more than just Victorian pride at stake in this match. Victory came into the season with a huge hype around them and are yet to produce anything near the justification of it. There are some serious question marks arising about Heart's ability to defend, when you consider they have copped five goals in two games.

On face value, the Hyundai A-League's most talented attack confronting an unsettled defence makes this match look one sided, but the lack of confidence at the sharp end for Victory is a factor as is the return of Bolton, who will add plenty of composure at the back for the underdogs.

Victory's other issue is how to shape up in the absence of Leijer. While Franjic looks a good replacement, he will need to gel quickly with both defensive partner Rody Vargas and goalkeeper Ante Covic.

It creates an opportunity for Heart to put some pressure on Victory's defence, but the absence of Fred means someone will need to step up into that attacking playmaker role. Nick Kalmar did that last week and faces a similar task here.

One Heart player certain to have extra motivation is Mate Dugandzic, who crossed clubs in the off-season and looms as a key player for Heart all season.

These derbies are often hard matches to predict, but if previous form between these two is a guide, then it should be an open match. That suits Victory better and they rightly go into the match as favourites.

Melbourne Victory squad: 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Fabio, 4. Petar Franjic, 6. Leigh Broxham, 7. Matthew Kemp, 8. Grant Brebner, 9. Jean Carlos Solorzano, 10. Archie Thompson (c), 11. Marco Rojas, 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 13. Diogo Ferreira, 14. Billy Celeski, 15. Tom Pondeljak, 16.Carlos Hernandez, 18. Danny Allsopp, 19. Isaka Cernak, 20. Lawrence Thomas (GK), 21. Ante Covic (GK), 22. Harry Kewell. *Four to be omitted*

In: 15. Tom Pondeljak, 7. Matthew Kemp, 14. Billy Celeski, 18. Danny Allsopp (All Promoted) Out: 17. Jimmy Jeggo (Omitted), 23 Adrian Leijer (Susp) Unavailable: Tando Velaphi (stress fracture)

Melbourne Heart squad: 1.Clint Bolton, 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill, 4.Simon Colosimo, 6.Matt Thompson, 7.Rutger Worm, 8.Kristian Sarkies, 9.Maycon, 10.Wayne Srhoj, 11.Alex Terra, 13.Jonatan Germano, 15.David Williams, 16.Aziz Behich, 17.Jason Hoffman, 18.Curtis Good, 22.Nick Kalmar, 23.Mate Dugandzic *two to be omitted*

In: 4.Simon Colosimo (promoted), 7.Rutger Worm (returns from injury) Out: Fred - Hamstring (2-4 weeks) Unavailable: Kamal Ibrahim - Ankle (6 weeks), Eli Babalj - Knee (1 week), Adrian Zahra - Knee (Indefinite), Kliment Taseski - Foot (2 months)