MELBOURNE Heart coach John Aloisi has confirmed skipper Harry Kewell will start against cross-town rivals Victory on Saturday night at AAMI Park.
The former Socceroo hasn't featured in the Heart's starting line-up since the Round 1 Melbourne derby more than two months ago.
Whiplash and ankle injuries prevented him from playing his second match for the Red and Whites until December 7 - as a substitute against Western Sydney - while he also made an appearance off the bench last week against Sydney.
And although Aloisi conceded the 35-year-old wouldn't be able to play out the entire match against Victory, the Heart boss said the former Liverpool star's presence on the park would give his team a crucial confidence boost.
"Harry's had a good week in training," Aloisi said on Friday.
"He's felt good physically (and) his ankle pulled up well which is the most important thing.
"What I've said to Harry is that you go as hard as you can and when it's time to come off, you come off.
"But we want him out there from the start because we know how much he can give us ... we know it will be a quality 60, 70 or 80 minutes.
"When your best players are out on the pitch you play better football.
"Harry is one of our better players and the players get confidence when Harry is out there and he is a big plus for us."
The Heart are yet to register a win from their first 10 games this season but Aloisi was bullish about his side's prospects for a maiden victory on the weekend and admitted it would be 'more special' to triumph in the derby.
Aloisi said the key to bringing down their fierce rivals was taking their chances in front of goal.
"We feel that we should have won on the weekend but we didn't and we know that when we're on top of teams we need to punish them," Aloisi said.
"So if we're on top of Victory and creating chances, we need to take them and punish them and make sure that we don't give them a sniff, and that's what we didn't do last week (against Sydney).
"Everyone's prepared, everyone's excited ... these are the biggest games of the year.
"These are the games that I do miss, I love playing in these big games and I know my players do too.
"It doesn't matter what form you're in, it doesn't matter what results you've been getting, derbies are always different."
As for the on-field crisis the club finds itself in, Aloisi was adamant they would resolve it sooner rather than later and that positive results would start coming the Heart's way.
"I know the players are giving everything for me and we're in it together," Aloisi said.
"We want to be successful as a group and it's easy from afar to say what's happening but we know what's happening inside and as a group we're working hard to get out of the situation."