Victory keen to turn pain into ALW derby triumph
Melbourne Victory are reeling from injury heartbreak and just hanging onto an A-League Women finals spot, but striker Melina Ayres is confident they can turn pain into a derby triumph.
Victory take on crosstown rivals, third-placed Melbourne City, at AAMI Park on Monday, days after losing Matildas stalwart Elise Kellond-Knight to a season-ending Achilles injury.
"We've had a few injury blows this week but it's a derby and nothing's going to stop us," Ayres said.
"We have a lot of heart in our group and a lot of challenges we've faced this year and we can take steam from last year as well.
"If we want it more then I think we can win - and I think we do, especially (after) everything that's happened.
"City have been a good team this year and they always are but I think we can use our strengths to pull through and get the win."
The pressure is on Victory, who sit fourth but just three points ahead of Canberra United and Brisbane Roar.
United were docked three points after being found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in a 2-1 win against Sydney FC on February 11, a penalty they are currently appealing.
Ayres, who has scored six goals in an injury-interrupted season, was confident if back-to-back champions Victory could secure their finals spot, they were again capable of going on another fearless run.
"Every time it gets to finals there's just something that clicks," she said.
"It's our Achilles heel - we need that bit of pressure to perform and we've been a few times a goal down and then we've got straight back in it and won the game.
"Finals is another realm and I think we all just find that bit of heart in us. We're a tight-knit group so I think it just comes down to that in finals."
City will be without midfielder Leah Davidson and young forward Caitlin Karic for the rest of the season.