Archie out for a month

Melbourne Victory has been dealt a massive blow on the eve of the Hyundai A-League finals with star striker Archie Thompson ruled out for at least four weeks after a small fracture was discovered in his foot.

Melbourne Victory has been dealt a massive blow on the eve of the Hyundai A-League finals with star striker Archie Thompson ruled out for at least four weeks after a small fracture was discovered in his foot.

Thompson injured himself in the 4-0 win over Wellington on January 26 and missed last week's loss to Gold Coast with what the club said was an ankle injury.

Hopes that he could return for the vital final two matches of the season with Melbourne heavily involved in a battle for a top-two spot have been dashed after a scan revealed the injury was worse than first feared.

"It's not good news," coach Ernie Merrick said. "Archie has a very small hairline fracture of a bone in his foot. Our treatment has been spot on all the way and our surgeon has suggested that it doesn't need surgery at all."

"He has to wear one of those moon boots to take the weight and stress off his foot for about two to three weeks."

"Another week of training after that and he should be right to play for us in four weeks which is the second part of the finals series."

In addition to the looming finals, which Thompson may only play a bit part in, Melbourne's Asian Champions League campaign starts later this month.

But Merrick has backed the depth in his squad to cover for Thompson in his absence.

"We've got good depth and good strength up front as well as at the back. He's coping well, he knows that it's a part of football," he said.

"We've got a tremendous belief in the players that we have. We think we're well set up to go well in both the finals and the Asian Champions League."

Perhaps of even greater significance to Thompson, the injury will mean he won't be able to play for the Qantas Socceroos against Indonesia in Brisbane in early March, effectively ending his hopes of making the Australian squad for the World Cup.

Thompson's absence comes on top of a two-match suspension to captain Kevin Muscat, who failed in his appeal on Wednesday night.

Merrick said the club had decided to accept the decision and focus on the North Queensland Fury on Friday night.

"We had a meeting this morning, all the staff and Kevin. We discussed it at length and we've decided that that's the end of it. We're not going to appeal. We're going to focus on playing in the finals," he said.

Thompson's usual strike partner Robbie Kruse injured his AC joint in the loss to Gold Coast last week and is still in doubt to take on the Fury.

"Robbie's MRI has cleared him of a serious injury to his shoulder, which is good. He trained and he trained quite well today, I won't say he's definitely playing, he's still 60-40 regarding playing. We'll see how he comes up," he said.

If Kruse doesn't come up, Melbourne could have a striker shortage, with back-up option Mate Dugandzic set to miss at least two weeks with a knee injury.

Aziz Behich and Nathan Elasi are likely to be brought in on the bench, with Marvin Angulo, Carlos Hernandez and Tom Pondeljak all considered for the starting role up front.

Adrian Leijer is set to captain the side in Muscat's absence, with Merrick praising the leadership qualities he's shown since coming back from EPL side Fulham.