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Irvine: "They're really special nights and you want to make them memorable"

It's derby time at the Millerntor on Friday (18.30 CET kick-off) when the Boys in Brown entertain our crosstown rivals for the unrivalled game of the day in Bundesliga 2. After training on Tuesday, captain Jackson Irvine took time out to face questions from the media.

Jackson Irvine on…

...the 4-3 loss in the most recent meeting: "It was tough. We played really well on the night but lost some sloppy goals. When you go away from home and score three goals, you expect to take something from the game, but we weren't able to do that. But for us it just pushed us on again. The mental side of this group is getting stronger all the time. Whatever the situation is on Friday, we'll be ready to face it."

...HSV: "The danger with them is always going to be the quality of their front players. They have a centre-forward who knows how to score goals in this league, but we've been really, really strong defensively so far this season and we need to show that again on Friday."

...his expectations for Friday: "It's a derby! Obviously, the situation with the table disappears in these kinds of games. It's an old cliché, but form goes out of the window in a derby. We expect a lot of intensity and it'll be an open game. Both teams like to play a lot with the ball, so hopefully it'll be an entertaining game."

...the atmosphere and the home support: "You know, every night at the Millerntor is special, but Friday night, derby, one versus two – it doesn't get any better for football fans and football lovers. We know that there's a special edge to this game for our supporters and it's up to us as players to bring that edge onto the field."

...the favourites tag: "Form goes out of the window in a derby. It's about who on the night has the ability to put the occasion aside and play their game, and to do their job and show not just the composure but also the ability it takes to win big games. Sometimes it comes down to small margins or moments of enormous quality to win these games and we have to make sure they fall our way."

...the balance between focusing on what is a special game and soaking up the atmosphere without letting it get to you: "I think it's a tough balance to find sometimes. You don't want to let the moment slip by because you don't get so many of them. They're really special nights and you want to make them memorable and the best way to do that is to prepare properly, focus and win the game. Then you can enjoy these moments as a player because football doesn't get much better. The home game last season was very special. If we play as well as we did that night, we have a great chance of winning."

...running out in front of a packed Millerntor on Friday evening: "I think for me I'm capable of soaking those moments in now. In younger years you can get overwhelmed by these occasions. I've never been more focused on where I want to be as a player and where I want this team to go and as the captain and leader of this team it starts with me. I look at anything and everything I have to bring, and I want that to echo through the team. It starts with that calmness and that's my job on Friday night."

Photos: Witters