Archie vows to hit back
Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson has vowed to put the nightmare of his most recent trip to Newcastle behind him when the Victory returns to Newcastle to take on the struggling Jets in the Hyundai A-League on Friday night.
Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson has vowed to put the nightmare of his most recent trip to Newcastle behind him and at the same time revive his international career when the Victory returns to Newcastle to take on the struggling Jets in the Hyundai A-League on Friday night.
After a weekend off, following the re-scheduling of its home game against Adelaide United due to the Reds' commitments to the FIFA Club World Cup, Victory suddenly finds itself hanging on to not only second spot but even its place in the top four by the skin of its teeth.
Following two successive losses on the road to Wellington and Perth, combined with wins for Queensland and Central Coast on the weekend, Melbourne is in second spot only on goal difference from the Roar with the Mariners a point further away in fourth spot while fifth-placed Sydney is just three points adrift of Melbourne, which has a game in hand.
But Thompson, arguably the No.1 striker in the competition, has vowed to return from the knee injury that kept him out of the last start defeat in Perth and help get Melbourne's season back on track this week.
"I think we have to turn it around this week, we started the season well but we have started to dip a little but we can't let that happen," he said following Victory training on Monday.
"The teams are so close to us now and the top four is so congested so we have got to consolidate our spot in the next few games."
And Thompson is on a personal mission this Friday night after being sent off and later suspended for two matches after swearing at the referee when Melbourne was last in Newcastle, during its Round 8 loss to the Jets.
"I won't be repeating that," he said.
"Hopefully this time I can change it around by not getting a red card and scoring the winner."
And with Australian coach Pim Verbeek having signalled his desire to use mostly Hyundai A-League players for the Socceroos' next match - the team's opening Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia on January 28 - Thompson knows a return to international duty beckons if he can re-discover his scoring form in coming weeks.
"It definitely gives a lot of players incentive in the A-League that want to be part of the Socceroos," he said of Verbeek's recent announcement that he will be focusing on the locally-based players in coming weeks.
"I know I am going to be playing the best I can and so will a lot of the other boys knowing there is an opportunity."
Thompson said he is confident the knee injury which kept him out of the Perth loss has settled down sufficiently to allow him to start against the Jets.
"It was just a little niggle, I was disappointed I couldn't play against Perth but I have been working hard and doing all the right things but I am confident it will pull up well for this Friday's game."
Meanwhile Melbourne has re-signed its veteran Scottish midfielder Grant Brebner for another season - tying the 31-year-old to the club until the end of next season - but has lost promising young defender Sebastian Ryall back to his hometown club Sydney FC.