Sydney FC stalwart Alex Wilkinson says his club are approaching top form at the right time, as they look to extend their great Sydney derby record in the A-League.
The second-placed Sky Blues need to beat Western Sydney Wanderers at ANZ Stadium on Saturday to have any hope of catching ladder leaders Perth, who host Newcastle on Sunday and enter the round with a six-point buffer.
Sydney are four points ahead of third-placed Melbourne Victory with three rounds left.
Wanderers, who last week lost any remaining hope of making the finals, have had a full week to prepare for the derby.
But Sydney go into the game just three days after a physically and emotionally draining 3-3 Asian Champions League home draw with Chinese glamour club Shanghai SIPG.
Centre back Wilkinson isn't worried about the short turnaround.
'These are the sorts of games we don't have any problems getting up for,' Wilkinson told AAP.
Sydney are unbeaten in their last five A-League derbies and have lost just one of the last 16 league and FFA Cup games against their cross-town rivals in the last five years.
"That definitely gives us confidence, we go into the game full of belief that we'll get the right result,' Wilkinson said.
"Over the last few weeks we are starting to hit our straps quite well.
"We're not only getting results but I think were playing some pretty good football and it's the right time of season to get into form."
While finals are no longer a goal for Wanderers, they will be motivated by the desire to end their derby drought.
"Our supporters deserve a win because it's a long time ago that the Wanderers won a derby," Western Sydney's German playmaker Alexander Baumjohann told AAP.
"We're getting closer every game we played them.
'The last game we were unlucky. We got a red card, we played very well, got the chances and we were 1-0 up.
''I just hope that we can beat them on the weekend."
Baumjohann, Oriel Riera, Mitch Duke and Kwame Yeboah provide plenty of attacking spark for Wanderers, who have only scored one goal less than Sydney.
"They are dangerous going forward no doubt, they've got quite a bit of quality up in that front third of the pitch. So that's something we'll have to watch," Wilkinson said.
.STATS THAT MATTER
* Wanderers haven't beaten Sydney since February 2017.
* Sydney have scored three or more goals against Wanderers in their last two matches at ANZ Stadium.
* Wanderers need to score four times to equal their tally of most goals (44) in a regular A-League season.
Australian Associated Press