Fit-again Archie Thompson set to start for Victory
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is confident veteran striker Archie Thompson can play a full match against cross-town rivals the Heart tonight.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is confident veteran striker Archie Thompson can play a full match against cross-town rivals the Heart tonight at AAMI Park.
Thompson has missed the last two matches against Newcastle and Perth due to a hamstring complaint.
But Muscat confirmed on Friday that the 35-year-old would start in the Melbourne Derby and he would be expected to see out the entire 90 minutes if need be.
"Hopefully he's done enough after 70 minutes that we can take him off but we wouldn't, and never have done, select players that are going to struggle to get through 90 minutes," Muscat said at Gosch's Paddock.
"He's had a great week on the track, along with the rest of his team-mates, and prepared very well.
"His body's fine for tomorrow."
Earlier in the day, Heart coach John Aloisi said his players were more motivated to play well in the Melbourne Derby than any other fixture in the A-League season, but Muscat said he'd be disappointed if that was the case with the men in blue.
"I wouldn't be happy with that because it probably suggests that (they are) not getting up and not preparing well for the other games," Muscat said.
The former Victory skipper said his side only had to play somewhere near their best to get a result against the winless Heart.
"We've troubled every team we've played in terms of the amount of chances we've created and we want to continue that tomorrow night," Muscat said.
"I dare say we're starting to take some chances as well now."
Muscat also denied his defenders would be vulnerable if the Heart managed to get their running game going forward.
"If our central defenders are getting run at regularly it suggests that we're not defending well as a team," Muscat said.
"So we're not going to isolate them in any way, shape or form."