Sydney United coach Mark Rudan has upped the ante in the FFA Cup pre-derby trash talk urging Western Sydney Wanderers fans to come out in force and support United against their arch rivals.
Rudan’s men face A-League blue-bloods Sydney FC in the Round of 16 clash in three weeks’ time.
But his appeal to the red and black end of town has drawn a sharp response from Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold who says he was "surprised" by the former Sydney skipper's comments.
United are hoping to draw a big crowd to their 12,000 capacity home ground Edensor Park for the televised blockbuster on September 23.
“It will be one hell of a place for them to visit with a vocal crowd, and I’m really hoping some of the Wanderers fans come out too,” Rudan told the Daily Telegraph.
“We’re very much part of the region, we represent it, and I can’t think of anything better for them than to support a club from their area facing their arch rivals.”
The Wanderers are coached by another former Sydney skipper, Tony Popovic.
Rudan is a Sky Blues legend and known among fans as the Big Blue Man.
And Arnold, who has played for and coached United, was quick to remind Rudan of his A-League roots.
“Like me, I’m sure a lot of Sydney FC members and supporters will be surprised with those comments from Mark Rudan,” Arnold said.
“The club has done a lot for Mark and he is held in very high esteem by the Sydney FC fans.
“I thought he would have been appealing for more Sydney FC and neutral fans to come out for the game rather than Western Sydney Wanderers supporters, especially after the relationship he has had with the club.”
Arnold has already fired a shot in the derby build-up telling the Sydney website: "I don’t think it’s any secret that we have the better individual footballers with better qualities."