The Victory need to get their season back on track after suffering two losses on the trot.
On Sunday they were taken apart by the previously hapless Perth Glory, their worst performance in a long while, but coach Ernie Merrick has remained positive and said to simply forget that showing.
At their best, the Victory are near impossible to beat but those types of productions have been few and far between in the 2010/11 season.
Tomorrow night they need to put everything together at the same time so they can produce a much-needed win against third-placed Central Coast Mariners who have taken all before them in winning their past three matches, the latest a 3-0 shellacking of Wellington Phoenix at their near-impenetrable Westpac Stadium.
Graham Arnold has his usually hard-working, blue collar team playing a positive brand of football and the players have responded well, scoring goals at ease (nine in three) and keeping clean sheets down the other end.
Tomorrow night at AAMI Park may be a different story though as the Victory get strikers Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson onto the park together for the first time this season and in the past, when they have had their backs to the wall, Melbourne have come up with the goods.
I believe that Merrick has instilled enough character in his players over the years that they can deal with this rut and bounce back with a solid performance despite the fact the Mariners are currently in cruise control.
Although I’m not sure if that performance can provide a win.
Verdict: 1-1 draw
Melbourne Victory vs. Central Coast Mariners
Date: Thursday, 18 November 2010
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Local kick-off: 7:30pm
Match fact: Central Coast Mariners are going for a club record of four successive wins.
Referee: Gerard Parsons
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, FS1 HD & Sky Sport 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partners are 774 ABC (Melbourne), SEN Digital and 96.3 Coast FM (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 5.Surat SUKHA, 6. Leigh BROXHAM, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10. Archie THOMPSON, 11.Marvin ANGULO, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 19. Evan BERGER, 20.Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 21. Robbie KRUSE 23. Adrian LEIJER, 27. Geoff KELLAWAY *three to be omitted*
In: Petar FRANJIC (promoted), Robbie KRUSE (returns from injury), Geoff KELLAWAY (promoted)
Unavailable: Ricardinho (knee - 4 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 2 Daniel MCBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 16. Trent SAINSBURY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk) *two to be omitted*
In: Trent SAINSBURY (promoted)
Out: John HUTCHINSON (international duty)
Unavailable: John HUTCHINSON (international duty), Brad PORTER (knee – 12 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee – season)