With the prospect of a mammoth Melbourne Derby Elimination Final next week, Melbourne Victory see this weekend as part of the build-up to one of the biggest derbies in A-League history.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says he’s focussed on meeting the Wanderers in Sydney on Saturday to round out the regular season.
But he conceded the club has one eye on an Elimination Final against highly likely opponent Melbourne City - looming as one of the most talked-about games in Melbourne Derby history.
“From our perspective, the reality suggests it’ll take some turn for it to be Wellington," Muscat said on Friday when asked about their potential Elimination Final opponent.
“That looks like what it is [in the Elimination Final] but I haven’t given it any thought, but yes, there are staff that has instructions to do many things in planning forward.
“So, yes, planning has been done."
For now, Muscat happy to continue building momentum after an encouraging 1-1 draw with Guangzhou Evergrande midweek in the Asian Champions League.
It’s the final round of the regular season and Muscat tipped that a number of his squad who played in the midweek may be rested for the Saturday night game in Sydney.
Victory also has a strong record at ANZ Stadium, winning three and drawing one of its four matches there.
“We’ll respect Western Sydney and have a mindset of putting in a level of performance that’s worthy of taking three points,” he added.
A win over the Wanderers would see Victory reach 50 points and 50 goals in the same A-League regular season for just the second time and first since claiming the Premier’s Plate in 2014-15.
Swedish goal machine Ola Toivonen and Keisuke Honda should return as the reigning champions build momentum moving into Week 1 of the Finals Series.
However, keeper Lawrence Thomas has reported with a little bit of soreness and “is unlikely to play” reported Muscat.
And injured James Troisi is back running but Muscat was not clear on when his Socceroo playmaker may return.
But it could be next week.
"It's one of those where you don't really pencil in anything because the medical team just want you back training as soon as possible.
"The fact there's a game next Friday for us, if that's realistic time will tell. If it's not, we'll just have to wait and see," said Muscat.