Preview: Sydney FC v Melbourne Heart

As Heart make their first visit to Sydney, the Sky Blues are in no mood to hand out any Christmas gifts.

Sydney FC v Melbourne Heart Thursday 23rd December 7.00pm Bah humbug! As Melbourne Heart make their first visit to Sydney, the Sky Blues are in no mood to hand out any more Christmas gifts.

There hasn-t been much for Sydney FC to be merry about so far in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season, so the Sky Blues will be extra keen to give their loyal followers some much-needed Christmas cheer as Melbourne Heart make their debut appearance at Sydney Football Stadium.

It-s sure to be a ding-dong battle between two sides fighting to squeeze into the top six, so get along and show your support. Jump up Sydney Cove, and sing your side to a much-needed festive three-points.

Christmas might be a time for giving, but if Sydney are to secure a vital win, then they-ll need to stop dishing out presents. In their last match, a Wednesday night trip to Townsville, keeper Ivan Necevski played Santa to North Queensland Fury-s Ufuk Talay by inadvertently allowing his seemingly harmless free-kick to drift through his arms.

This 70th minute howler was the only goal in another desperately disappointing away trip for the Sky Blues. Handing such gift-wrapped victories to rivals at the foot of the table is not what you need when you are furiously trying to rescue your season.

With two minutes to go in last Friday-s game in Adelaide, it looked like it was set to be a fairly bleak Christmas for Melbourne Heart. On the back of a poor run of form, and 1-0 down to a top-two side that had won their previous seven home games, Melbourne fans would have been forgiven for giving up the ghost. However, their side showed an abundance of Heart and, incredibly, not only rescued the game with a Simon Colosimo goal in the 88th minute, but went and won it through John Aloisi-s strike in injury time.

This remarkable comeback made it one of the most dramatic ever ends to a Hyundai A-League match and the two goals from the former Sydney duo not only stunned the big home crowd, but proved that Heart possess the kind of guts and never-say-die spirit that will serve them well as they hope to make the Grand Finals in their inaugural season.

Therefore, they arrive in Sydney for the first time in good festive spirits, and are boosted by Kristian Sarkies- successful recovery from injury, a return that boss John van ‘t Schip likens to having a new signing at his disposal. Meanwhile, Sydney-s Cove will recognise some familiar faces in the Heart squad in last week-s goal-heroes John Aloisi and Simon Colosimo.

An especially warm reception will be reserved for legendary stopper Clint Bolton. While Sky Blues fans will be praying that he has a nightmare once the whistle blows, there is no doubting that he still holds a very fond place in the hearts of followers of his former team, and rivalry should be put aside - temporarily at least - in order to give him the reception he deserves as he steps onto the pitch he performed so well on for all those years.

It-s set to be a tight game on Thursday, but which side will be king and make their opponents look like turkeys? Can Sydney give The Cove the kind of Christmas gift their loyal support deserves, or will Melbourne once more grab three away points to further inject some cheer into their hearts?

It-s set to be a pre-Christmas Cracker on Thursday night at Sydney Football Stadium, so secure a ticket today and get ready for a festive football treat! Make some noise! Click here to see Sydney host the Heart