Sydney and Perth both regard their A-league clash on Saturday as a massive game, with the local team desperate to improve on their miserable home form.
Last week’s 5-2 thrashing by Newcastle represented Sydney’s fifth loss in ten home games, only three of which they have won.
The crushing defeat bumped Sydney out of an all-important top-six placing.
Fourth-placed Perth come to Sydney riding high on the back of an eight-match unbeaten streak.
Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka said every game was like a grand final for his club, while marquee player Brett Emerton attached enormous importance to the SFS clash.
“I think its arguably probably the most important game of our season so far,” Emerton told reporters.
“Perth are doing very well, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t go out here and get one over them, because I think historically we’ve done pretty well against them in the past, so I think we can do it again.
“It’s a massive game on the weekend.”
Perth have scored 11 goals in their past three games, beating the three lowest teams on the ladder, but expect a far tougher assignment against Sydney.
“We know this Saturday is going to be a massive game,” Perth midfielder Steven McGarry told AAP.
“I think the situation there (Sydney) just now, there’s a lot of pressure on their guys over there.
“They lost their last home game 5-2, so I’m sure those guys will be definitely wanting to rectify the situation there. It will be a really really tough game.”
Lavicka, who will leave Sydney at the end of the season, apologised for their “embarrassing” display against Newcastle.
He said he had told his players not to give up on their season and pick themselves up physically and psychologically.
The two previous matchups between the sides this season resulted in a 1-0 win for Sydney in Perth, where they absorbed enormous second-half pressure, and a 1-1 draw in Campbelltown.
“Every game against Sydney is always a tough game. It’s always quite evenly matched – there’s always maybe one or two goals in it,” McGarry said.
“I think it’s going to be pretty cagey early on and I think the first goal is going to be really vital.”
Sydney welcome back Emerton from a hamstring injury, but have lost skipper Terry McFlynn to suspension and striker Mark Bridge to an ankle problem.