Western United are out to shake-up an intriguing A-League derby dynamic in Thursday night’s clash with red-hot Melbourne City.
The expansion club boasts an unbeaten record in five matches against Melbourne Victory, but are yet to topple fellow cross-town rivals City.
City have won all five previous meetings with United – just don’t call it a hoodoo.
“I don’t believe in this too much,” United striker Besart Berisha said ahead of the AAMI Park clash.
“Melbourne City did really well every time we’ve played against them and they play great football, that’s all it was.
“This week we want to try to change that.”
It will be no small task against a City side that has hit a rich vein of form, making it six straight wins with a come-from-behind 4-1 triumph over Western Sydney Wanderers last week.
United have had to grapple with a disrupted preparation after their match against Brisbane Roar was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
It left Mark Rudan’s side facing an even bigger backlog of fixtures in a season that could yet cop further disruptions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not ideal because we have already a lot of games to catch up, but we have to move on and focus on this important derby game,” Berisha said.
“(City) have great momentum going and it’s going to be very tough.
“But it’s a derby game, we’re looking forward to that, we are rested a lot and we want to play.”
City’s English attacker Craig Noone scored twice and set up another goal in the win over Wanderers to play a key role in extending the club’s record-breaking winning streak.
It moved City up to third spot, two points behind leaders Central Coast, with games in hand keto diet cons on the Mariners and second-placed Adelaide United.
Free-scoring City have found the net more times than any of their rivals this season – 26 goals at an average of 2.2 a game – with Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren’s 12 goals leading the charge as the league’s top scorer.
“We can’t take our foot off the gas and relax,” Noone said.
“We’ve done well and we’re not going to get carried away with the amount of goals we’re scoring.
“We keep saying it, but we keep getting it drilled into us as well, that we don’t relax when we go a goal up.”