Simon says he’s loving his time with Sky Blues
SYDNEY FC forward Matt Simon was a Mariners player through and through - he played 148 A-League games with the club and scored 41 league goals.
But he wasn't wanted for this season despite the quality service he gave the club since making his debut back in 2006, only broken up by a stint in the K-League with the Jeonnam Dragons in 2012-13.
It seems as though life hasn't been as rosy in the harbour city for the 29-year-old ... not yet anyway.
He was only brought on after 84 minutes in round one in Sydney's 1-all draw against Melbourne City, and saw no game time away to Newcastle in a 1-0 win last Saturday.
That is because he is fighting for a spot in the forward line with stars including Shane Smeltz, Alex Brosque, Filip Holosko and Robert Stambolziev.
But Simon said he was only seeing blue skies at the Sky Blues, and is hoping to play in his first Sydney derby against the Wanderers at a sold-out Allianz Stadium tonight.
"It's amazing just being on the same team as those guys. Anyone out of our forwards is capable of starting, and it's always a great battle," Simon told APN.
"I can't wait to play in my first Sydney derby - it'll be a great occasion for the players and the fans."
Simon played under current Sky Blues mentor Graham Arnold while at the Mariners, and said he was delighted to be back playing for the championship-winning coach.
"He was a huge factor in me coming to Sydney - he is intense at training, Sydney FC was keen to have me and the club is so professional," Simon said.
Now in his 10th professional season, Simon said he was drawn to the Sky Blues because he wanted to work with renowned trainer Andrew Clark.
"I've had a couple of injuries in my career, but it's important you surround yourself with the right people," Simon said. "And
Andrew is the best trainer in Australia.
"He had a successful career as a player, so he knows what we go through."
Meanwhile, Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata confirmed the match would be played in front of a sell-out crowd for the fourth successive time.
"This is the biggest game in town and it's hard to remember any club game between two sides in Sydney ever being this popular," Pignata said.
The derby in October 2014 set a stadium record for a regular season game in any code, with 41,213 fans turning up.