Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic is relishing a tough run of games that could go a long way to determining their chances of making the grand final.
Victory are priced at 9/2 to win the 2021/22 A-League grand final and currently sit fifth on the ladder as the business end of the season fast approaches.
Victory kick-off a challenging run of fixtures when they face Melbourne City in the derby on Saturday. Then they play second-placed Western United before a home clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Victory have games in hand on the teams around them and Popovic says it is great to be back competing at the right end of the ladder.
"I'm glad we're talking about a big game against Melbourne City, a big game against Western United, a big game against Wanderers," Popovic said. "Western United is trying to become a big club, Melbourne City and Wanderers are big clubs, we're a big club and we want to be spoken about as a big club and we want that expectation.
"We feel we're on the right track to bringing that back, we haven't secured that quite yet. But these three games give us a chance to really cement our place on the table and be talked about as a big contender this year."
Victory are searching for their first win against City since December 2019 but can take heart from a dramatic 2-2 draw in their last meeting.
Victory could be without Robbie Kruse who is awaiting scan results on his damaged knee, while Chris Ikonomidis could miss out with a hamstring injury.