Archie set for derby return?

Melbourne Victory's marquee man Archie Thompson is making a spirited bid to be fit for Saturday's Derby showdown against cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart.

Melbourne Victory's marquee man Archie Thompson is making a spirited bid to be fit for Saturday's Derby showdown against cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart.

The Socceroo striker has missed five matches after injuring his hamstring in Victory's 2-0 win over Perth on December 18, but according to midfielder Grant Brebner may find himself in the squad for the Etihad Stadium clash.

"Archie could be a surprise packet, (but) I don't know (for sure)," Brebner said.

"He's locked away in the gym doing sessions, hopefully this week he'll get out and have a bit of a kick with us."

If Archie's 90 per cent fit then that would be a huge plus for us, (but) let-s wait and see what he can produce at the end of the week."

Derby III promises to be even bigger and better than the previous two considering the high stakes on the line.

Fifth-placed Victory boasts 33 points from 25 matches, while Heart, who hosts Gold Coast at AAMI Park on Wednesday night, sit seventh with 31 points from 25 matches.

Success for Victory would not only virtually extinguish the finals aspirations of the Heart, but also entrench them in the top six with four regular season matches remaining.

Brebner, who has been one of Victory's most dependable campaigners this season, is well aware what-s on the line.

"It's a six-pointer for us to put a gap on them," Brebner said.

"If you ask any player or coach, you want it (your own destiny) to be in your own hands - you don-t want to be relying on other teams."

"We're sitting in the position now where it is in our hands, there is enough points there not to just scrape into the finals, but cement our place."

"It's a Derby this week and we're desperate to win, but more than anything the three points are valuable."

Victory will welcome back skipper Kevin Muscat following a week's suspension after his red-card in the 4-1 home loss to Adelaide United.

Brebner is looking forward to the captain's return, saying his experience will be crucial on what promises to be a big stage.

"He's a massive (in)," Brebner said.

"There's no doubt he's obviously a big loss to the team when he-s not there, both on and off the park."

In other team news, defender Adrian Leijer (quad) is close to a return, while youngsters Petar Franjic, Matthew Foschini and Mate Dugandzic did their hopes of being in the mix come finals time no harm with impressive performances in Victory's 1-1 draw against Sydney FC last Saturday night.