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Friday is derby day, as the Boys in Brown go to the Volkspark for the second meeting of the season with our crosstown rivals (kick-off: 18.30 CET). In the run-up to the game, Jackson Irvine took time out on Tuesday to talk to the media.

Jackson Irvine on…

...the sense of anticipation ahead of the derby: “Although we’re disappointed with how the weekend went, I think everyone’s looking forward to it. We’re back in today and everyone’s fresh and the energy’s good. Derby matches are like a cup final, and Friday will be a big game for us. As players, you don’t need any extra motivation for these kinds of nights. It just comes naturally. You feel the buzz building in the city during the week. More often than normal people want to come up and wish you good luck and make sure the players know how important this game is to the fans and the area.”

...the defeat against Braunschweig and the end of the winning run: ”We’ve played worse and won over the last ten games. The performance generally was good, we created a lot of chances. There’s a lot of positives for us to take from the game. If we can play like that and keep defending the way we did throughout the winning series, then we give ourselves a great opportunity to win any game.”

...whether the ailing Eric Smith can play and his importance for the team: “I’m not a doctor so that’s not my call. Eric’s been an important player for us, for sure, and everybody hopes he’ll be involved. He looked good on the pitch today and that will give him more confidence. We’ll see how the week develops. Day by day will be the approach, I think, but it’s not my decision to make.”

...the captain on Friday: “It will be Paqa. We rotate for each opposition home and away. I was captain for the last two games, so Paqa will be captain on Friday night.”

Against Regensburg and Heidenheim, Jackson Irvine led the team out as captain. For the derby, Leart Paqarada will wear the captain’s armband.

Against Regensburg and Heidenheim, Jackson Irvine led the team out as captain. For the derby, Leart Paqarada will wear the captain’s armband.

...Fabian Hürzeler’s first defeat and first derby as head coach: “With us Fabi has always been focused on preparing right and the performance and this week will be no different. We look at the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses and how we’re going to approach the game and everything else takes care of itself.”

...whether HSV are under more pressure: “People can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, both teams will want to go out and perform and win the game. We know how important the game is to everybody and we just want to focus on playing well and trying to get a result.”

...the balance between motivation and a cool head: “It’s up to us as experienced players to help pass that through the rest of the group. Most players now have been involved in a derby. You do get that extra bit of buzz and it is harder to stay calm and clear, especially in away games. Last season was still Corona time and now it’s going to be a full house so I’m really looking forward to that. It’s going to be a big atmosphere, so that’s for us as experienced players and leaders to pass through the group and bring that composure. We have a lot of younger players who already have that composure. I’m pretty relaxed, I just want to prepare the right way physically and mentally as I always try and do.”

...the 3-0 win in the reverse fixture: “The win came in a period of turbulent results for us, which makes it stand out a bit more. It was a highlight of my time at the club so far.”

...the key to a successful outcome: “The same things that we’ve brought to the last lot of games. We need to be clinical when the chances come and defend well and be compact. Our game plan never really changes, no matter who we’re playing. If we do our game plan right, it gives us a great chance to beat any opposition.”


Photos: Witters