Victory primed for derby

Melbourne Victory captain Adrian Leijer believes the derby against cross-town rivals Heart has come at just the right time for his team.

Melbourne Victory captain Adrian Leijer believes the derby against cross-town rivals Heart has come at just the right time for his team.

Mehmet Durakovic's side moved into fifth on the Hyundai A-League table after a comfortable 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Having suffered just two defeats this season, Victory have the chance to put together consecutive wins for the first time this campaign when they take on the Heart on Friday night.

Leijer said the meeting with their arch-rivals had come at a good time for his side, who are aiming to build heading into the New Year.

"I think we've improved a lot. The past month, I think we're really starting to play some of our best football. I think we've got our formation right, there are a few youngsters that have come in and done very well," he said after recovery on Monday.

"There's a bit of a spring in the step at the moment so hopefully we can build on that. I think it's a very good time for the derby to come along."

Attacking pair Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez were standouts against the Phoenix, while Harry Kewell has been building towards his best form of the campaign.

Victory and Heart remain locked at a win each in derbies, with their two most recent meetings ending in draws.

Durakovic and Leijer both expect Thompson, who tops Victory's goalscoring with five, to play against Heart, despite being substituted against the Phoenix because of an ankle complaint.

Heart, who are third after winning five of their past six, have impressed in the last month, and Leijer said the players were looking forward to taking on John van 't Schip's team.

"They're a good side and I think this year they're playing some good football, they've got some good young players," Leijer said.

"They're moving forward so we're going to have to be on our toes. I think it's great now that the rivalry is really building and we've got the big name players and they're playing some good football."

"Two days before Christmas, I think it's a fantastic way for it to come about. We're all excited for it, I think the fans are very excited for it, and we can't wait to get out there."