MATCH PREVIEW | Royals seek big win at Club Italia

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The Essendon Royals travel to Club Italia for just the second time in its history for a league fixture on Saturday to take on an in-form Brimbank Stallions FC.

The two teams clashed at Brimbank in the FFA Cup earlier this season, with the Royals progressing on penalties, but this marks the first league fixture between the two sides since their State League 5 West fixture in 2011.

The Royals won 3-2 on that day, courtesy of goals from Alistair Dunlop, Marc Grosso and Martin Strasser, and coach Vaughan Coveny would happily take a similar result this time around.

A lot has changed for both clubs over the last eight years but the Royals will hope its winning run at Club Italia can continue.

The Stallions, coached by former Melbourne Knights players and coach Andrew Marth, have struggled at home at times this season.

They have only won once at home all season, back in round six against Whittlesea United SC, losing three and drawing their most recent home fixture against Keilor Park SC.

But Coveny is not taking anything for granted.

"We've had a win against them in the cup and they've beat us in the league, so it'll be tough," Coveny said.

"I don't know much about Marth but I'll be expecting a similar contest as to what we had against Altona City, a match against a hard-working opponent who will make life tough for us."

Despite the 3-1 loss last week, Coveny was impressed with the endeavor and effort of his injury-hit team and while he did not have much good news to report on the injury front, the Royals have been hitting the training track hard this week.

"We've just focused on being positive and keeping the hard work up. Hopefully that reflects in our performance on Saturday," he said.

Coveny said he was hoping to see Japanese midfielder Gaku Matsuda continue to build on his impressive performance in his first start for the club last week, while new right-back Sammy Logozzo – who arrived from Box Hill last week – will be hoping to make his first start for the club after coming off the bench last week.

Kick-off at 3 pm.

The reserves will be fighting to stay ahead of the Stallions, who are just one point behind the Royals with a game in hand.

The reserves kick-off at 1 pm.

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