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Anna Harrington

Victory set for derby, congested ALW run

Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins says his ALW team is ready to embrace a hectic schedule. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

A-League Women defending champions Melbourne Victory are prepared for a brutal schedule exacerbated by the heat-enforced delay of their derby against Melbourne City.

The Victory-City clash at Casey Fields was postponed from 3pm Saturday (AEDT) to 5pm Sunday due to extreme heat in Melbourne.

For Victory that has meant an already-condensed run of games just got even tougher.

The reigning champions play City on Sunday, travel to Sydney on Tuesday, face Western Sydney away on Wednesday.

They will then travel directly to South Australia to face Adelaide United on Saturday before returning to Victoria for their clash with Sydney FC four days later.

The four games in 12 days are a throwback to last year's congested run into the finals when COVID-19 related delays forced Victory to play seven games in 23 days.

"Look, it's important that we don't play these games in 35-40 degree heat. Putting them at 3pm kick-offs just doesn't work," coach Jeff Hopkins said.

"It would've been nice to maybe bring it forward to the morning of the same day

"Obviously now that's put us at quite a disadvantage for the games coming up, but it's something we'll take it our stride.

"We'll deal with it, not a problem.

"We'll play, we'll recover, we'll make any changes we have to make and then we'll move on

"We went through far worse through COVID and we've come out of that much, much stronger.

"We understand what our bodies can be put through and what we're capable of doing so it doesn't faze us at all."

Victory are still without Claudia Bunge (ankle) but will regain rested winger Lia Privitelli.

City have exciting young guns, especially Daniela Galic and Bryleeh Henry, but have been bolsted by skipper Emma Checker and full-back Karly Roestbakken's return from injury.

"They've got some very good senior players, that are coming back from injury now, very experienced players at this level, but also they've got some very, very good young players," Hopkins said.

"The intensity they play with and the enthusiasm they play with makes them sometimes a little bit unpredictable but look I'm expecting a very tough game on the weekend.

"They are a team that will want to play and they'll want to impose their style of play on us.

"It's down to us to come up with something that throw a spanner in the works and upsets their rhythm a little bit and allows us to play the way that we want to play."

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