City's Nabbout up for Victory derby battle

Andrew Nabbout will face Melbourne Victory for the first time since joining fierce rivals Melbourne City when they meet in Saturday night's A-League derby.

ANDREW NABBOUT.
ANDREW NABBOUT. Picture: Tony Feder/Getty Images

Andrew Nabbout will welcome being made a target by his former Melbourne Victory teammates and the vocal fans that once adored him when he lines up in Saturday's crunch A-League derby.

The 28-year-old winger has faced them before, having spent two seasons at Newcastle Jets in between his two stints with Melbourne's biggest club.

But he's yet to feel their full wrath while wearing the sky blue shirt of fierce cross-town rivals City.

"If I do, I don't really mind. I welcome it, to be honest," Nabbout said.

"It's another game for us, we're two wins on the trot now and we're looking to make it three and work our way back up the ladder.

"It's a big game, it's derby week, it's big for everyone; but for us it's business as usual and we're going in to get three points.

"If I get kicked, I get kicked."

Victory are expecting more than 15,000 fans for their home game at Marvel Stadium in what will almost certainly be the largest A-League crowd seen in Victoria since the coronavirus pandemic took hold more than a year ago.

The derby takes on added importance with both sides currently outside the top six, and Victory sitting last.

Nabbout is fully expecting heat from Victory supporters in his first appearance on the other side of one of the A-League's biggest divides but says it will be "water off my back".

"I've copped it everywhere I've gone and it is what it is," Nabbout said.

"It's going to be a big game and if I get that sort of treatment then I get that sort of treatment.

"I try to block it out as much as I can anyway.

"I'm going to be concentrating too much on trying to beat the player ahead of me rather than what I'm copping from the crowd."

Star recruit Nabbout suffered a serious hamstring injury on his City debut in December and spent almost two months on the sidelines.

But he has impressed in two full shifts on return, and shouldered a heavy workload in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Western Sydney.

"That's two games now that I've played 90 minutes, which is good for the confidence and my body," Nabbout said.

"That's a lot of running that I've got in my tank and I'm ready for another big one."

Nabbout is yet to taste defeat with City, who have won in each of the Socceroos winger's three appearances for his latest club.