Melbourne Victory sign Central Coast Mariners striker Mrdja

Melbourne Victory has moved swiftly to strengthen its striking stocks ahead of its match against North Queensland Fury at Etihad Stadium tonight, signing Central Coast Mariners forward Nik Mrdja as an

Melbourne Victory has moved swiftly to strengthen its striking stocks ahead of its match against North Queensland Fury at Etihad Stadium tonight, signing Central Coast Mariners forward Nik Mrdja as an injury replacement player for Billy Celeski.

Mrdja, 31, will join his new teammates for the first time tonight and could make his debut for the club against Fury after marquee striker Archie Thompson was yesterday ruled out for four weeks with a foot injury and fellow forward Robbie Kruse continues to manage a shoulder injury.

Mrdja, who netted 12 goals in 42 appearances for Central Coast and has one Qantas Socceroos cap to his name, has been signed until August this year and will feature in the Hyundai A-League 2010 Finals Series and the AFC Champions League 2010.

"This is a great opportunity for Nik to join us for the last two rounds of the Hyundai A-League season, the Finals Series and the ACL," Melbourne Victory Football Operations Manager Gary Cole said.

"While we think this is the deepest squad that we've ever had with great youth and experience, having another striking option is fantastic and gives us a really nice balance.

"The news we had yesterday about Archie was a concern and with Robbie's shoulder also a concern, we moved to sign Nik, who is big, tall, strong and quick and in very good form at the moment, having scored six goals this season.

"Nik will fly into Melbourne today and because of circumstance should find himself at least on the bench tonight against North Queensland."