Socceroos James Troisi and Ivan Franjic up for Melbourne derby battle

They'll face off in Saturday's Melbourne derby, but A-League pair James Troisi and Ivan Franjic have plenty in common.

Both want a Socceroos place back.

Both reckon their clubs have been hard done by in recent weeks, with better performances than results have shown.

Both see the derby as a route back to winning ways.

And both aren't ready to give up on the A-League premier's plate, though they'd settle for second place.

Victory forward Troisi and City right-back Franjic came together on Thursday ahead of this weekend's derby.

But there was no animosity, and in fact several compliments offered up, ahead of the A-League grudge match.

The pair share a bond through Australia's Asian Cup triumph, the two-year anniversary of which fell this week.

Troisi said he'd enjoyed seeing Franjic return to his best after two interrupted preseasons.

"He had a bit of a tough patch and it's good to see him back on the pitch. He's been doing well," he said.

"[The Asian Cup] was a massive achievement for all of us and something we'll never forget."

Franjic repaid the favour, recalling Troisi's devastating performance in their last-out derby, a 2-1 Victory triumph in December.

"Jimmy's a good player and we've seen that," he said.

"We respect all their players. You can't just focus on one player with Victory, you have to worry about the whole team."

Against Victory, City will face a wounded animal.

Kevin Muscat's side have lost three matches on the spin, costing them their tight hold on second place. A City win at Etihad Stadium would lift Michael Valkanis' side to within three points of Victory with nine games to play.

Given no side has won the A-League from outside the top two, it's no small prize and it's playing on the minds of both players.

"We want to finish top two and Victory are standing in our way at the moment," Franjic said.

City have their own form-lines to be concerned about.

A last-out away loss to Newcastle made it just two wins in nine games for City.

Franjic says City have identified the issues and will fix them for Saturday's clash.

"Teams are dropping off on us. It's obvious. The way they're playing their trying to hit us with a sucker punch," he said.

"We've been dominating games but not scoring.

"It's been frustrating but we've rectified the problem this week and I don't think it's going to happen again.

"Over the next few weeks it will turn and we'll be giving some teams a hammering."

From his own club's viewpoint, Troisi could agree on that.

"We're looking to rectify the points we haven't picked up," he said.

"[Finishing top two] is important. But the most important thing for us is to win in the style we want to play and iron out a few problems.

"If we're playing the way we want to play and know how to play, it's going to be very hard to beat us."