Melbourne Victory defender Nick Ansell is looking forward to the prospect of locking horns with former teammate Connor Pain in Sunday's clash with Central Coast Mariners.
Ansell and Pain remain close friends from their time at Victory, with Pain leaving the club for the Mariners at the end of last season.
While winger Pain featured in the Round 12 clash between the two sides in December, Ansell was an unused substitute.
But Ansell has worked his way back into the side, starting in Victory's past two matches.
"Connor's a quality player and we saw him a couple of years ago tear up Liverpool," Ansell said on Friday.
"He's been doing really well and he said to me a couple of weeks ago he's really enjoying it up there. It'll be good to have a battle with him."
Victory is coming off a 0-0 draw away to Newcastle Jets on Monday night, a result Ansell said was disappointing.
"We're footballers and we need to perform week in, week out, no matter where we're playing. There's no excuses," he said.
Second-placed Victory is 11 points behind Sydney FC with eight rounds to go this season, but Ansell is refusing to concede in the Premiership race.
"In football anything can happen, in two weeks, even a week. Things can just change overnight," he said.
"Obviously, things for Sydney will have to change over a couple of weeks, but we're never going to give up and we're going to fight right until the end."
Sunday's match against the Mariners will be broadcast live and exclusively on Fox Sports 505 from 4.30pm AEDT.