Brebner back for Victory

Melbourne Victory has received a boost with the return of the influential midfielder Grant Brebner for their A-League clash against Central Coast in Gosford on Friday night.

Melbourne Victory has received a boost with the return of the influential midfielder Grant Brebner for their A-League clash against Central Coast in Gosford on Friday night.

The Scotsman comes straight back into the starting line-up after missing Victory's 2-1 win over Newcastle last Monday through suspension.

It is the only change coach Ernie Merrick has made to a team chasing a fourth straight Hyundai A-League win and looking to extend their unbeaten streak to seven.

"It's good to have his (Brebner's) quality back in the team, he's pivotal in our team in regards to keeping possession and playing forward passes," Merrick said.

''I felt we were a bit disjointed in midfield (against Newcastle), we gave the ball away which is unusual for us - but given there were five new starters in the starting 11 it's quite understandable."

Merrick wouldn-t reveal who Brebner would replace, but Leigh Broxham appears the likely player to make way.

Having gleaned only one point from their two matches against the Mariners this season, success at Bluetongue Stadium is something Merrick has labelled as crucial for the fifth-placed Victory.

"They've certainly had a good run this year and going to be a very tough team to beat with runs on the board and scoring goals (consistently) at home," Merrick said.

"We've had four games at home, won three and drawn one, now we've got two away games (Mariners and Wellington) - it's very important we play to win those games."

"We've got really good depth and it's about playing good football and winning or grinding out a game and winning. It's all about winning just now."

"That's the way it's going to be in every match from now one, everyone's vying for a finals spot and a bit of congestion outside the top two and bottom two. That means eight or nine teams are fighting to cement a spot in the finals."

"It's about us getting into the finals first and foremost, and not really worrying were we finish."

Merrick also acknowledged the selection of Victory's top-scorer Robbie Kruse in Socceroos coach Holger Osieck-s Asian Cup squad.

"It's a tremendous reward for Robbie himself, he has worked so hard to achieve national selection and fully deserves it - it's great to see," Merrick said.

Kruse will play against the Mariners before jetting off to the Socceroos' training camp in Dubai ahead of the Asian Cup, starting on January 7.