|By LUKE SHEEHAN
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said teenage right-back Scott Galloway is set to face a baptism of fire on Saturday, after being all-but assured of a start in their derby with Melbourne Heart at Etihad Stadium.
With Diogo Ferreira ruled out due to suspension, Galloway - having only just debuted for Victory's National Youth League side - is set to make his debut in Postecoglou's starting XI.
And Postecoglou said there was no point being overly protective of the 17-year-old former AIS captain, stating there is no better way to induct rising stars into his side than via the big stage.
"I don't think age has got anything to do with it," Postecoglou said on Friday.
"I've seen 30-year-olds crumble on the big stage. At the end of the day, [Galloway] plays for Melbourne Victory - we can't find a game we're going to play in front of 3000 people for him.
"So if he wants to be a Melbourne Victory player, that means playing in front of big crowds, big games, and I'm really confident he'll play well."
And Postecoglou said he would welcome a record crowd for the season's third Melbourne derby, with the home-and-away figure of 50,333 - registered when Victory hosted Sydney FC in December 2006 - the number to beat.
The all-time highest A-League crowd of 55,436 was recorded when Victory thrashed Adelaide United in the 2006-07 grand final.
"I love big crowds. If we keep breaking records, it's great - it's great for the code, it's great for our football club so it is important," the two-time championship coach said.
"If we were playing in the state in front of 5000 people, I'd be pretty disappointed so hopefully we do get a record crowd.
"The signs are really good. We had a great weekend last week, sold out AAMI Park, and everyone that turned up left pretty satisfied with what they saw in terms of the spectacle, with it being a derby tomorrow, everyone back [from] holidays, back at schools, I'm hoping we do break the record."
Postecoglou said his side had "no excuse now" not to be challenging league leaders Central Coast for the Premiers Plate, with Victory five points in arrears of Graham Arnold's men after 18 matches.
But he was more concerned about peaking for the all-important finals.
"Even if we get through this month, I wouldn't want to limp into the finals... what we have done is we've created a real good foundation for ourselves to have a good shot at finishing first, and also a good shot at playing in the grand final, which is obviously our objective," he said.
"We're in second spot... if we get through this period and we're still in good shape, it'll mean those last five games we can really focus in on having some good form."