Brebner, Fabiano ruled out

Melbourne Victory will go into Saturday's clash with EPL club Fulham without two of its international players with Scot Grant Brebner and Brazilian Ney Fabiano ruled out with calf and ankle injuries respectively.

Melbourne Victory will go into Saturday's clash with EPL club Fulham without two of its international players with Scot Grant Brebner and Brazilian Ney Fabiano ruled out with calf and ankle injuries respectively.

Ney Fabiano is still recovering from a nasty ankle injury he sustained when playing in the club's recent tour of China, while Brebner, who has had a horror two-year run with injuries, has opted not to risk further damage to the calf muscle he first injured against Wellington in Queenstown a fortnight ago and then aggravated in a match against a VPL team in Shepparton last weekend.

"He made a tough call, Brebs. Because Brebs hates missing games and this is the best pre-season he's had he reckons in a long time. He's had 14 weeks when he hasn't missed a training session," coach Ernie Merrick said on Thursday.

"He made the call that he didn't want to play in this game because if he tears it, then he could be out for six weeks. I thought it was a good call he made, because he wants to be right in four weeks' time. The chat I had with him was about him making the right decision. Him not making himself available because we want him for the league proper."

Merrick said Ney Fabiano was making good progress from his ankle injury but wasn't quite ready to play a competitive match, while Steven Pace (shoulder) and Billy Celeski (hip) were both chances to play.

"I probably won't risk Fabiano, he's underdone. Steve Pace is 50/50. Billy is available but for a restricted time. He was starting to feel really good and he tore a muscle very slightly, but he's good again."

Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez has missed a large chunk of Melbourne's pre-season through international commitment and would be unlikely to play a full 90 minutes, while new Thai recruit Surat Sukha has only had one session under Merrick to press his claims.

"Having watched Surat three times and played against him, we know he's a really good player, the tough bit is getting used to the way we play and adapting his style. That's my first session with him, we've all been impressed with how quickly he's adapted to how we play," Merrick said.

"I think he's going to be a very good player for us as he learns to fit into our pattern of play."

Merrick indicated Mitchell Langerak will start to game as he and Glenn Moss continue to battle for the keeping spot ahead of the first game of the Hyundai A-League season against Central Coast on August 6.

Of the nine players who remain at the club who were in the XI for last season's grand final, only Hernandez is considered a doubt.

"After 14 weeks of training, the boys are very fit, they are looking really sharp. We've managed to bring on a couple of youngsters as well," Merrick said.