Berger blow for Victory

An injury to left back Evan Berger has forced yet another shuffle-up in Melbourne Victory's defence ahead of Friday's clash against Perth Glory at ME Bank Stadium.

An injury to left back Evan Berger has forced yet another shuffle-up in Melbourne Victory's defence ahead of Friday's clash against Perth Glory at ME Bank Stadium.

Berger will miss at least the next two weeks with a groin strain, Matthew Kemp is likely to remain in Melbourne with his wife yet to give birth, while Kevin Muscat is still at least a week away from returning from a hamstring strain.

While the arrival of Adrian Leijer and the quick progression of Surat Sukha has allowed the defending champions to cover the losses of Kemp and Muscat, Berger's injury will see Melbourne have to find another player to slot in on the left side of defence.

"Evan Berger has got a groin strain. He'll miss at least two weeks. Kempy's wife still hasn't had the baby. We'll add one to the squad from last week and we haven't decided on who that player will be," coach Ernie Merrick said.

"I think he'd (Kemp) want to be around and with her, and support her and that's very important. We've got a good squad. It's been terrific since Kevin got injured. We've got Leijer back and we've discovered Surat when Kempy couldn't go to Townsville. Surat filled in really well."

Merrick said the most likely replacement for Berger would be Leigh Broxham, who would move from a defensive midfield role and be replaced by Grant Brebner.

"In place of Berger we've just been impressed with Leigh Broxham. He played a whole range of defensive positions. He slotted nicely into left back against the Fury. Surat can play either side, but I don't want to chop and change him. It looks like Leigh will play there," he said.

Sukha's emergence has been a real bonus for Melbourne during a mini-defensive personnel crisis which has seen it fail to field the same back four in successive weeks at all this year. Merrick admitted that the Thai international had been given his chance sooner than he would have thought, but that he has proven himself worthy of a starting position.

"I'm not surprised. I've always been impressed with him as a player. Our team is the sort of team where we try to make it a bit special to get in the first eleven, and you've really to fight for it. Once you're in there, you got to fight to hold that position. He was one of the best players on the park last week. He did a great job," he said.

"Even if everyone was available, he would still be playing from the start. That's the way we try to make it for everyone."

Danny Allsopp was the other player to leave the training track early on Wednesday. But Merrick is not concerned by the big striker's fitness and he expects him to start against the Glory.

"Allsopp's worked hard all week. It's just a maintenance and management thing. Knocks and bruises," he said. "It's a contusion in the quad. He's been smacked pretty hard. We don't think it-s a tear. If it was a tear, we wouldn't risk him."

"It's two days out. He's done all the work needed this week. We have a sports medicine management meeting and we decide who is going to participate, who's going to try and see how they feel and who is best not taking a risk with."