ECU Joondalup coach Dale McCulloch is expecting a fiery match when his team takes on Joondalup United this weekend in the local derby at ECU Joondalup Football Stadium.
As the teams reach the second half of the competition, McCulloch said they know more about each other and he will be preparing his side for a tough encounter.
“Joondalup United are a big, physical side so they’ll be tough and they’ll come at us,” he said.
“They’ve got some good results lately and they deserve to be in this league now which has shown, so I’m expecting them to come at us at full steam ahead and hopefully we can deal with that and put the ball in the back of the net a few times.
“We just want to be winning games so we expect to go out there and be tough, strong and make sure we compete physically and hopefully we can get the job done.”
Joondalup United coach Nick Jennings said he still views ECU as one of the main contenders in the competition, after the two teams drew 2-2 in round 1 of the season.
“To me they’re a great team, they’ve probably got the best two forwards in the league with a combination of Daryl Nicol and Gordon Smith,” he said.
“Obviously they have strength in their defence, signing in particular (Perth Glory defender) Jack Iredale, so they’re still one of the favourites alongside Bayswater and Sorrento in the league in my opinion.”
Jennings, whose side is two points clear of ECU on the league ladder, said he will have a full squad for this weekend’s match, and won’t feel the added pressure of a derby.
“We’re pretty friendly with the ECU bunch obviously all being local, so there’s a lot of personal rivalries on the table,” he said.
“But we’re still free of pressure, I think the pressure is on ECU – they’re the ones who have, even in the chance window, gone out and made signings.
“We haven’t made any signings so I don’t feel there’s any pressure on us, I still think we’re a free spirit and we’ll have a go like we do every week.”
In other round 14 action on Saturday, Perth Glory will take on Armadale at Ashfield Arena, Bayswater City will host Inglewood United at Finance 365 Arena and Balcatta will take on Sorrento at Grindleford Reserve.
Floreat will aim to maintain their position at the top of the league ladder when they meet Stirling Lions at Macedonia Park, Subiaco will host Cockburn City at Rosalie Park, and Mandurah City will face Perth SC at Securitas Protect Stadium.
Saturday, May 27
Perth Glory v Armadale (Ashfield Arena, 3pm)
ECU Joondalup v Joondalup United (ECU Joondalup Football Stadium, 3pm)
Bayswater City v Inglewood United (Finance 365 Arena, 3pm)
Balcatta v Sorrento (Grindleford Reserve, 3pm)
Stirling Lions v Floreat Athena (Macedonia Park, 3pm)
Subiaco v Cockburn City (Rosalie Park, 3pm)
Mandurah City v Perth SC (Securitas Protect Stadium, 3pm)