Nikolai Topor-Stanley has played down the Wanderers' poor recent record in the Sydney Derby and admits the hostile atmosphere on Saturday night will make it hard for players to keep a lid on their emotions.
Speaking at Wanderers training on Tuesday, the Wanderers skipper said his side have moved on from the weekend’s loss to Melbourne City and have set their sights on ending their derby hoodoo against Sydney FC.
“I don’t look at past history. It doesn’t mean anything to me,” Topor-Stanley told reporters.
“It’s a new game; it’s a new chance to create history, to rewrite those books. That’s fine by me.”
This will be just the 11 edition of the Sydney Derby, but there’s no question it has become a huge fixture on the Hyundai A-League calendar already.
Asked about the enormity of the occasion, Topor-Stanley said: “You try to keep your emotions in check as much as possible but everyone would be lying if they said it wasn’t a different game.
“It’s easily the biggest game on our calendars during the league, especially at home we’re looking for the three points.
“We’re disappointed [we lost to City on Saturday night] because we have high standards here…we go into every game expecting to win,” he added.
“But we’ve moved on, we’ve learned our lessons and we’ve got a massive derby ahead of us.”
Wanderers attacker GolGol Mebrahtu echoed his skipper’s sentiments, and said the side owed it to their fans to get a positive result on Saturday night.
Mebrahtu hopes he can play a significant role in the derby, looking to make up for lost time after an injury-plagued couple of seasons in the A-League.
The 25-year-old has made just four substitute appearances so far in 2015/16 but feels he is getting closer to his best. And he can use the example of Sydney FC’s Ali Abbas – who made a stunning return last weekend - as extra motivation.
“It was good to see him [Abbas] come back fit and healthy and doing well. Obviously we don’t want him scoring against us this weekend,” Mebrahtu said of his Sky Blues rival.
“My confidence comes from my work ethic. “I feel fit, I feel good, I feel healthy and hopefully I can show that on the pitch.”