Sydney FC star Milos Ninkovic has predicted a top-four finish for their local rivals ahead of their first derby of the A-League season.
Leading into Saturday's clash at Bankwest Stadium, the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Sky Blues are the only clubs to have won their first two matches.
The reigning A-League champions have been the dominant soccer force in Sydney in recent times, given the Wanderers have missed the finals in back-to-back seasons.
But Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel has made some shrewd signings for the 2019-20 campaign, including German striker and proven goalscorer Alexander Meier and Swiss international midfielder Pirmin Schwegler.
German international Nicolai Muller arrives in Sydney on Friday as a replacement for injured Polish midfielder Radoslaw Majewski, with the strengthened roster prompting veteran Sydney playmaker Ninkovic to predict a Wanderers' resurgence.
"It's going to be a very hard game, a very tough physical game," he said.
"They have a good team, they have signed some good very experienced players and we respect them.
"The last couple of years we were on the top and they didn't have the best results, but I think this year they will be in the top three, top four teams in the A-League."
Sydney have also benefited from some new recruits, including ex-Wanderers playmaker Alexander Baumjohann and Socceroos defender Ryan McGowan.
Ninkovic was impressed at how quickly McGowan had adjusted to the A-League.
"If you remember my first season, I needed one year to adapt to the league but he's already adapted which is great for us," he said.
The Serbian midfielder was savouring the prospect of playing in front of a big crowd in the first Sydney derby at the new stadium.
"Every player wants to play in front of a full stadium, that's very good for the A-League and for the players," he said.