Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor and Melbourne City interim coach Michael Valkanis can see a rivalry building between their teams.
The pair lock horns in Thursday night’s clash at Coopers Stadium to continue the rivalry which began late last season when Adelaide downed City twice in two notable games before claiming the 2016 Championship.
A Reds 2-0 away win in the final round of the season saw United guarantee first position as tempers flared at half-time.
The second victory came in a 4-1 semi-final win and now two former Reds Michael Valkanis and Bruce Kamau will battle City on Thursday night. Former United youth player Ruon Tongyik will also be in the frame for the visitors.
Amor said former friendships will count for nothing once the whistle is blown.
“City are powerful, they have good players in the squad with Ruon, Kamau, Michael Valkanis and (former Reds CEO, now City Head of Talent) Michael Petrillo are people who worked here before,” Amor said.
“They’re good people for us but at this moment they’re not our enemy but our rival.
“In this case we need to win, I understand for them it’s an important game but our situation at the moment is bad and we need a good result.
“It’s Valkanis’ second game on the bench and I think he’s focusing on the job because he likes to be the coach and this is great. He played here for many years and it’s special for him, a sensation for him, I understand. But we need to win this game and we’re going for this.
“The game is Adelaide V City, not Valkanis V Me. It’s our job, this is not a personal battle. It’s about the teams and who wants the result.”
Amor, along with former Reds coach Josep Gombau, are linked to the City head coaching role.
The Barcelona legend added: “I don’t speak with anyone, I’m coaching here in Adelaide.”
Melbourne-born Valkanis, who is the current City interim coach, spent a total of 14 years in the South Australian capital with Adelaide City, Adelaide Olympic with 12 seasons spent serving United as a player and assistant manager.
He said the “original rivalry” against Melbourne Victory remained and felt the transfers between the clubs created new competition.
The Reds also have former City defender Ben Garuccio in their squad this season.
“It’s always been a rivalry between Adelaide and Victory and even as a player that was a game you waited for, over the years it became even more interesting and entertaining,” Valkanis said.
“Last season for some reason City came into the mix and it became a big game as well, I think it was because both teams were doing so well. City were virtually in the top four and were competing for the final spot and at one stage even to be No.1.
“The rivalry I think started last year with having two very good sides playing open football against each other.
“You’ve always had some sort of Adelaide connection here, with some of the boys coming here. There’s a bit of spice to it, no doubt and it becomes more so now you have an Adelaide contingent part of City, but we’re looking forward to a good game of football.”