Perth SC and Balcatta will be desperate for victory for very different reasons when they meet at Dorrien Gardens on Saturday in round 22 of the PS4 NPLWA.
While Perth sits one point off the top of the league ladder, Balcatta are 12th and are battling to stay out of the relegation zone.
Perth coach Ramon Falzon said his side, who are the PS4 NPLWA defending champions, will be focusing on leapfrogging first-placed Inglewood United.
“From last year’s experience, we know that it’s going to be a tight and open race until the last game of the season,” he said.
“We just want to make sure that we’ll be up there when crunch time comes.
“We can’t control the results but we hope to create a bigger gap between us and other teams, or perhaps overtake Inglewood.”
Falzon said Perth will be aiming to continue their form after defeating Sorrento in round 20 and Armadale in round 21.
“We definitely need to back ourselves up to grab another win and it would be great if we get our third consecutive clean sheet,” he said.
“Balcatta are desperate for points to avoid relegation, so they are definitely one of those very dangerous opponents to play at this stage of the season.
“A simple point would mean a lot to them, but for us if we were to drop points, that could be a massive dent in our title hopes.”
Balcatta coach Salv Todaro admitted his side was in a precarious position.
“Perth are just off the pace at the top of the ladder, so they’ll be thinking they might get three points from us, but we’re very desperate at the moment to try and get three points as well,” he said, ahead of a clash between two clubs of Italian heritage.
“At the moment it’s David versus Goliath with the Italian derby, and all current league form goes out the window because the two clubs are very traditional rivals so we’ll be out there trying to pull one over them.”
In other games this weekend, Perth Glory will take on Inglewood United at Ashfield Arena, Floreat Athena will take on Armadale at E&D Litis Stadium and ECU Joondalup host Bayswater City at ECU Joondalup Football Stadium.
Stirling Lions take on Joondalup United at Macedonia Park, Sorrento and Cockburn City meet at Percy Doyle Reserve, and Mandurah City host Subiaco at Securitas Protect Stadium.