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Depleted Melbourne out to bridge gap with Adelaide

Despite the fact that the Melbourne Victory strike force is down on numbers, coach Ernie Merrick expects his side to grab all three points. The Victory are missing strikers Archie Thompson, Ney Fabiano, makeshift forward Carlos Hernandez and back-up striker Nathan Elasi and Merrick will need to come up with a potent mix to be any chance to topple the in form team in the land, Adelaide United. "As far as striking options it is (the most depleted we have ever been) but it is not an excuse," Merrick told the league's official website. "We have still got a rock solid defence and we have got a very strong midfield and we can play a couple of midfielders up forward to support Daniel (Allsopp) and they are experienced players who will be able to do the job. "So there are no excuses whatsoever." Adelaide are currently three points clear of Melbourne at the top of the ladder so it will be an extremely important outcome for the Victory, especially given the fact they face the Reds away at Hindmarsh Stadium. "If they win they go six points in front of us but if we win we go back to the top of the league so we know it's an important game and the attitude mongst the players this week in training has been outstanding," Merrick added. Whilst the Victory welcome youth squad captain Mathew Theodore into the side for his debut, Adelaide will be boosted by the return of Jason Spagnuolo back from illness and hard-nosed defender Angelo Costanzo.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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