Kevin Muscat says his Melbourne Victory players will be ready for a huge match away to Wellington Phoenix after becoming battle-hardened by their involvement in a succession of table-topping clashes this season.
The Big V took part in a showdown with the same high stakes as recently as March 7 when they played host to Perth Glory, who have since been deposed from top spot and dropped to fourth in the standings.
And having spent much of the last two campaigns challenging near the summit of the table, Muscat is confident his Victory side will be undaunted by the task awaiting them in New Zealand.
"It's happened a couple of times now where we've been involved in top v second," he said.
"It's going to be a difficult game for us. But it's an exciting time. There's a handful of games left and a lot of teams with a lot to play for. I suppose it couldn't be scripted any better.
"You can try and prepare as best as possible for different things. But the fact we've been involved in games like this all season ... the finishing line is upon us and they'll be a lot of tension ... a lot of pressure. It's that time of season where you've got to get the result."
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The Phoenix surprisingly suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at home to fellow title challengers Sydney FC last weekend, but Muscat believes the result wasn't an accurate representation of Wellington's true potential.
"They had a number of disruptions in terms of players being away on international duty, like ourselves," he said.
"Uncharacteristically they conceded off three set-pieces, three corners. I'm not reading into last week's results too much, at all."
There could be several important players named in Victory's travelling squad, with Mark Milligan and Daniel Georgievski available after playing for Australia and Macedonia respectively late last month, while Kosta Barbarouses, who missed New Zealand's friendly away to South Korea due to injury, is available again.
Olyroos trio Connor Pain, Jason Geria and Scott Galloway were due to return to the club on Thursday.
"We've got all the boys back from international duty so it gives us a full group to select from," he said.
"We'll go across there with some confidence."