Keeping the clamps on Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren shapes as the key to Western United finally snaring an A-League win over cross-town rivals Melbourne City.

Maclaren has scored seven goals in four games against United - with City winning all their match-ups to date.

United coach Mark Rudan played down last season's poor record against City but admitted keeping the elusive Maclaren quiet posed a genuine challenge.

"Jamie's a good player, a very good player - one of the best, if not the best striker in the league and we understand that," Rudan said.

"Sometimes he doesn't do too much, like last year he didn't do too much in the semi final - but then he wins a penalty, albeit we should never have given away that penalty - and that's Jamie for you.

"He's very good in the box, for someone that's not very tall he's very good in the air and he makes some really good runs too.

"I don't place a huge emphasis on any individual, I never do that and it's no different with Jamie but we've just got to be aware of his movements."

Maclaren is yet to score from two games and will be keen to get off the mark on Saturday.

"It's just about making sure I'm in the right positions to be in goalscoring positions and last year they happened to be the team that I was scoring against," Maclaren said.

"... We've had some good battles and they're a very good team that can hurt you.

"We've worked on the way that they set up and how we're going to approach it.

"It should be a good game and it's another Melbourne derby and it's something that we really look forward to."

United haven't played an A-League game since their December 28 draw with Adelaide while City's last match was a loss to the Reds on January 3.

City will be without captain Scott Jamieson (suspension) while United are poised to unleash new signing Iker Guarrotxena in attack.


* City have won all four of their previous meetings with United, scoring multiple goals each time

* Jamie Maclaren has scored seven goals in four games against United

* Besart Berisha scored in each of his three regular-season match-ups with City for United and has nine goals in his past nine regular-season games against them.