The end for Muscat?

Saturday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final is unlikely to be Kevin Muscat's farewell to the league, with Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick saying he has pencilled his skipper in to go around again in 2010/11.

Saturday's Hyundai A-League Grand Final is unlikely to be Kevin Muscat's farewell to the league, with Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick saying he has pencilled his skipper in to go around again in 2010/11.

Muscat will be 37 by the time the next season starts but remains contracted with the club and will at least fill an assistant coaching role. But Merrick expects Muscat, who has been a massive influence at the club over the past five years, to pull on the boots again next season, despite the fact the skipper has said he won't make a decision on his future until June.

"His contribution to our club is enormous. I have Kevin pencilled in for next season and I don't have a rubber. Hopefully he can stay on as a player as well as a coach next season," Merrick told a club function on Friday.

Muscat is not interested in contemplating his future ahead of the Grand Final, saying he would give it consideration when he could assess whether his body was up to the rigours of another season.

"The truth to your question is that I haven't given it any thought," he said when asked if he will play on.

"First and foremost, I've got a challenge week in, week out just to get my body up for the game. With the aid of the medical staff, with luck as well, my body has been able to get up for games."

"At this point and time, I'm fit and healthy. For the last 12 months, going into the next game, I've felt it was my last. I'm not going to change that now."

Muscat wants to complete his duties with the AFC Champions League before he considers if he wants to play on.

"Hopefully we can make it into the last 16 of the Champions League. That will take us until the middle of May, then I'll go on holiday and discuss things with Ernie," he said.

If Muscat was to retire, Melbourne would need to find another captain and leader. But the current skipper believes there are plenty of candidates to replace him, including Adrian Leijer.

"Adrian went overseas and wanted to try his luck and rightly so because he had an unbelievable season that year. But for him to be able to come in this season at a crucial time when we were light on numbers centrally has been great," Muscat said.

"The results and the way his performed have spoken for themselves. He's been every present. He's started in the most games for us since he's come back. He's been injury free. He's a very talented footballer with a great future."