|By JAMES RANSON
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou expects a fiery response from Sydney FC when the sides meet at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night after the 7-2 mauling the Sky Blues copped from Central Coast.
The occasion was not lost on Postecoglou as his side looks for their first win in five years in Sydney.
Postecoglou said he anticipated the swift return of Sydney's star signing Alessandro Del Piero from a hamstring injury and even swifter response from Ian Crook's squad.
"It's human nature that there will be a reaction from them," Postecoglou said, referring to the Mariners loss.
"They'll need to have a reaction from last week but they had quite a few [players] out last week as well and they'll get a few players back.
"Whenever you go through something like that the players coming in haven't been scarred in that way so I'm sure they'll be looking for the players that come in to provide them with some positive momentum."
Del Piero has called on his team-mates to respond but it was the Italian maestro Postecoglou was more concerned about.
"I think so [Del Piero will play], obviously he's provided a great spark for the whole A-League and it's exciting," he said.
"It'll be great to see him at close quarters and I'm sure the whole team's looking forward to that challenge.
"When players come with a reputation that he has there's only one way they can go if they aren't totally committed so it would have been terrible if his reputation got tarnished when he came here.
"But just showing the kind of professional he is I think if anything his reputation has been enhanced in this country.
"I think football followers knew what a great player he was but now I think the general public have a real appreciation for what a fantastic player he is and ambassador for our game."
It will be Postecoglou's first taste of the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry and one the two-time A-League-winning coach is thoroughly looking forward to.
"It's tremendous there's going to a massive crowd there it's a big game between the two clubs and we're looking forward to it," he said.
"Both clubs are in transition years but there's no doubt it's one of the big clashes in the A-League calendar."
The Victory are likely to stick with the same line-up that carved Wellington Phoenix to pieces on Monday in a 3-2 win, that saw two late goals from Jeremy Brockie.
"Our last three weeks have been pretty good, pretty consistent - Adelaide, Newcastle and Monday night [Wellington] - so we expect that consistency to keep going," Postecoglou said.
"It would be good to win a couple of games on the trot and win away from home I think those kind of things add belief to a group and how we're progressing."