Victory wary of old Mate

Defender Petar Franjic believes Victory are finally starting to gel ahead of Friday night's Melbourne derby but remains wary of former teammate and leading Heart goalscorer Mate Dugandzic.

Defender Petar Franjic believes Victory are finally starting to gel ahead of Friday night's Melbourne derby but remains wary of former teammate and leading Heart goalscorer Mate Dugandzic.

Victory head into the derby on the back of their most impressive performance of the season, a 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix - but it is the Heart who carry the better form into the clash.

The Heart have won five of their past six matches, including back-to-back triumphs on the road against Brisbane Roar and Perth Glory.

One of the reasons for the Heart's surge up the table has been the form of Dugandzic, who has scored in three of his past four outings to take his season tally to five.

Franjic knows he will have to keep a close eye on the former Victory player.

"Right now they're in good form, they're getting results every week and they've got some players that are in great form like Mate - he's scoring goals pretty much every week," Franjic said.

"It's a bit of both ways, he was here last season but he's moved on. He probably had to do what was best for himself, but it's always good to see someone you know doing well.

"Just in general as a team they've really picked up in the last few rounds and started getting some good performances and results."

While the Heart have been flying up the ladder in recent weeks, Victory look to have finally found their mojo with some improved performances and a win on Friday could move them above their rivals into third place.

"We're feeling confident. Our last four performances have been better and we feel like we're starting to gel more as a team and hopefully we can build from that and get a good performance," Franjic said.

"We felt that we didn't get off to the greatest start in the season and we always knew it was going to take time. We feel in the last few rounds that we've started to do that and it's probably showing."

"It's an important game for both clubs just in terms of where we are on the ladder and especially because everything is so close, if we can get a win then it will really push us up there and it's always good to get one over the Heart."

Victory stars Archie Thompson, Harry Kewell and Adrian Leijer all missed training on Tuesday but are expected to line-up, with Billy Celeski the only absentee through suspension after he received two yellow cards against the Phoenix.