Blues raring to face close-game specialists Melbourne

Carlton are prepared for a bruising and potentially tight game when they face Melbourne in a test of their top-four aspirations.

The Demons (fourth, 6-2) and Blues (eighth, 5-3) are set for a blockbuster Thursday night clash at the MCG.

Carlton won last year's semi-final against Melbourne by two points and beat them by four in round 22, while their previous two losses were by just 17 and five points.

Coach Michael Voss said his Blues, coming off heartbreaking losses to Geelong and Collingwood, couldn't assume the game would be tight, but had to be ready for it.

"Mentally we have to be prepared for a really tight game. That's the way their games have panned out, but we don't expect anything," coach Michael Voss said.

"We have to earn the right to go out there and play the way we want to play and Melbourne provides some real constraints to that, but there are certain things we need to make sure we provide.

"We fell short on some of those last week, we lost some ascendancy around the ball and Collingwood were able to get on top around that part of the game."

Happy Collingwood players.
Magpies players celebrate their six-point win over arch rivals Carlton. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The game is set to be a clash of two powerful midfields.

Melbourne's Clayton Oliver, Christian Petracca and Jack Viney will face Carlton's Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and George Hewett.

Blues rucks Marc Pittonet and Tom De Koning will have their work cut out against in-form Demons skipper Max Gawn.

"When you look at Melbourne's strengths, they've obviously got a real strength around that part of the game with Gawn, Petracca, Oliver and all the names that sit around that part of the ground," Voss said.

"So there'll be a pretty good contest around there, they've got some big bulls around there and so do we, so it'll be a nice, strong contest."

The Dees only have a five-day break between their stirring win over the Cats and the Blues clash and have focused on mental and physical recovery.

"You want to enjoy your wins, but you do it for 24 hours," Goodwin said.

"Clearly it gives a lot of belief to our playing group about what's possible in the way they're playing.

"But it's a new opponent, a new challenge and this competition doesn't allow you to get comfortable.

"Every week is a new challenge and the competition demands that you get better. "That chance comes again tomorrow night against Carlton, who we know when we play them, they're tight games, they're close games and they're exciting games."