Western Sydney Wanderers defender Jonathan Aspropotamitis is hopeful his team can take advantage of a “rattled” Sydney FC defence in Saturday’s anticipated local derby.
The Sky Blues were forced to dig deep after conceding a season-high two goals in last week’s 3-2 win over the Central Coast Mariners, and Aspropotamitis wants his team to find out how.
“Obviously they’re in great form and high flying, unbeaten in 14 games,” Aspropotamitis said.
“We’re confident — looking at how the Mariners rattled them [on Sunday] — we can take a few things from that and implement that in our game plan.”
On paper, the 14th instalment of the rivalry appears one-sided.
The Sky Blues extended their unbeaten run in the fixture to eight games with a 4-0 thrashing in front of an A-League record crowd of 61,880 at ANZ Stadium back in October.
Meanwhile the Wanderers have won just two of their 14 games this season, sit outside the top six and are still without suspended first-choice striker Brendon Santalab.
But Aspropotamitis says the current ladder positions shouldn’t come in to play in the traditionally fiery encounter, which could include the Wanderers’ former Sydney FC gloveman Vedran Janjetovic.
“We know there’s going to be a lot of heat in the game. It’s always a physical tussle, no matter where we are on the table,” Aspropotamitis said.
“The form guide goes out the window when you play a game like this. From our perspective, it’s about keeping a clear mind and going into the game fully focused.”
Sydney is likely to be on the lookout for a new central defender for the second time in two weeks following a hamstring injury to Sebastian Ryall, while midfielder Josh Brillante is also set to miss the match due to suspension.
The fixture at Allianz Stadium will also be pitted against the Big Bash League derby between Sydney Thunder and Sydney Strikers next door at the SCG.