When the clock strikes three at Somers St on Sunday, it will be time for payback.
Melbourne Knights travelled to face league leaders Bentleigh on Wednesday night after a thrashing of Werribee City a few days earlier- but still no fixture has been relished throughout the week as much as the impending visit of South Melbourne.
The two biggest rivals in Victorian football have already gone head-to-head three times this season. Despite taking the lead in every match, all three occasions have ended in heartbreak for the Knights.
Barring a possible meeting in the finals, this is the last scheduled Melbourne Derby of 2015, and Andrew Marth’s men will be desperate to ensure at least one goes their way.
The Knights showed they could match it with anyone at Kingston Heath on Wednesday night, coming from behind to earn a point against Bentleigh with Chris May saving a stoppage time penalty.
There will be more than just pride at stake on Sunday though. A win would take the Knights within four points of South, while a loss would open the door for Pascoe Vale or Hume City to take fourth spot, which promises a home final.
Chris Taylor’s side has struggled of late, losing two consecutive home games before getting back to winning ways in midweek, albeit needing a 92nd minute Milos Lujic winner to knock off Green Gully.
Despite a recent goal drought, the striker has scored in his last two appearances and the Knights defence will of course need to be wary. Andy Brennan, match-winner in the first league game at Lakeside Stadium, is no longer at the club but Nick Epifano could be in the side after returning from a trial with Dundee United.
Marth spoke to KNIGHTStv about how quickly the focus amongst the players turned to the blockbuster on Sunday.
“I’m sure they are determined. We were speaking about it after the [Bentleigh] game. They are looking forward to South Melbourne and to be honest if you’re a fair punter, I think we owe them one.”
“They’re still on a high and above us so we have to start beating some teams above us if we’re going to be serious finals contenders.”
The match kicks off at Knights Stadium at 3pm on Sunday. Full live updates will be provided on the club’s Twitter account (@MelbKnights).