Former Sutherland Sharks junior, Chris Ikonomidis, will put aside his youth football roots when the Western Sydney Wanderers take on Sydney FC in Sunday's blockbuster derby at Allianz Stadium.
Ikonomidis grew up and played football in the Sutherland Shire, which also makes up a high proportion of Sky Blues fans.
But Ikonomidis wasn’t concerned that the area he grew up and played football in during his formative years is also the heartland of the Wanderers' bitter rivals.
“I didn’t even know that there were a lot Sydney FC fans in the Sutherland Shire,” Ikonomidis said.
“But that doesn’t really change the fact that we are going to go at Sydney 100% because it is a derby. We owe it to our fans and to ourselves to get a good result and get the bragging rights.
“Obviously it’s three points like every other game so the three points we get is very crucial for us at this stage of the season and we’ll be taking that into consideration on Sunday.”
In preparation for Sunday’s game Ikonomidis said his teammates were giving him insight about what to expect when he takes to the pitch in one of the marquee games of the season.
“This is my first real derby playing in Australia,” he said.
“Obviously it’s special playing in my home city so I’ve spoken to a few boys who have said it’s a fantastic game to play and there is a lot of buzz and energy on match day. So I’m very much looking forward to it.”
The last time the two teams met, the Sky Blues thrashed the Wanderers 5-0. So along with bragging rights, both teams are looking for a win as it will be one step closer to achieving their season’s ambitions.
A victory for Sydney would cement their place at the top of the table, while Western Sydney - who are in a battle for sixth place - will be looking for an end of season finals spot.
However, Ikonomidis wasn’t looking too far past Sunday's massive game.
“Obviously we don’t look too far ahead,” he said. “We always look towards the next game and the focus goes fully to that.
“We’ll prepare for the weekend’s match without getting too ahead of ourselves and try and get three points and then we move to the next game."
After being considered a star of the future early in his career due to playing with Lazio’s youth set up as a teenager, Ikonomidis struggled to break into the Serie A club’s senior ranks.
His move to Western Sydney is his third loan in three years and the 22-year-old is hopeful his form in the A-League will aid his development.
“Obviously every game that I’ve played has been important to me,” he said.
“I’m not thinking past Sunday ‘s game and getting the three points, obviously you don’t sit there and right down little goals, you try and do your best each day and each game you play.
“Australia is on a good track football wise. It’s a very professional league, it’s been fantastic - especially my experience here at the Wanderers.
“There is some great coaching and great players so I’m enjoying my time here.”