Melbourne Victory haven't beaten Sydney FC since 2019, but they'll have an excellent chance to end that run when they face off at AAMI Park on Tuesday night.
Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic says his players are keen to tip recent history on its head as the A-League Men club attempts to snap a three-year losing streak against Sydney FC on Tuesday.
Victory players are champing at the bit to play again after a COVID-19 outbreak grounded the squad following their 1-1 draw with Adelaide United on January 8.
Popovic has eased the players back into full training, and he'll have a near full-strength squad to pick from for the AAMI Stadium blockbuster.
Victory are flying high on top of the ladder with four wins and two draws from seven games, while Sydney are struggling in seventh spot with two wins and three draws to show from their eight games.
But the Sky Blues enter the match with recent history on their side, having beaten Victory in the past eight meetings between the two sides.
Sydney crushed Victory 6-1 in 2019, while they also posted triumphs of 3-0, 3-0, and 4-1 during the winning run.
Victory's most recent league win over Sydney was on January 26 in 2019, but Popovic feels his players are primed to end the rut.
"Statistics are always important, I didn't know that stat," Popovic said when asked about Sydney's dominant run against Victory.
"History can always be created and it can be broken. I feel we have a very good opportunity in front of our home fans and members who haven't had a chance to watch us for a few weeks.
"I believe in the team, I believe in the players, and I believe we can get the points."
Popovic said the extended break due to the COVID-19 outbreak had left his players feeling hungry to get back on the park.
"We've got to now regroup after a bit of a break - 17 days without a game," Popovic said.
"When you've got a game against Sydney FC it should be easy motivation for the players.
"They look happy and ready to play. We want to put on a good performance."
Sydney are stuck in a mini rut, with injuries and international call-ups hurting their cause.
Goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne and defenders Rhyan Grant and Joel King have been called into the Socceroos squad for World Cup qualifiers, while the Sky Blues are still without Adam Le Fondre and Kosta Barbarouses.
Saturday's 2-1 ALM loss to Perth Glory rounded off a period of three home games in eight days without a win, following a draw with Brisbane Roar and being eliminated from the FFA Cup by Central Coast Mariners.