Heart look at Fred cover

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip has confirmed the club is entertaining the thought of looking for a short-term replacement to cover for injured captain Fred.

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip has confirmed the club is entertaining the thought of looking for a short-term replacement to cover for injured captain Fred.

The talismanic Brazilian reinjured his groin against Gold Coast last week and could now be sidelined for up to six weeks - a period which sees the Heart play eight matches.

But van 't Schip said they would be limiting their potential search to Australia.

"It's the (transfer) window now so we're looking at every kind of solution, so we also look to replace maybe Fred for a period that we know he's going to be out," van 't Schip said.

"If you look overseas (for a replacement) before you get a Visa and everything it's going to take already two, three, four weeks, so at that time Fred maybe already is going to be back, so if we look, it will be (from) here."

Van 't Schip admitted losing Fred again would be tough on his team and he was looking for a collective effort from the Heart to fill the void for the duration of his absence.

"You can't expect from one player to fill in the same thing that Fred brings," the Dutchman said.

"But I think collectively we have to step up and a lot of the boys are already doing that this year.

"But we need another push, another level higher, to compensate the loss of Fred."

The third-placed Heart will begin another stint without Fred against Perth Glory at AAMI Park on Sunday.

The match will kick off a pivotal six-day period for van 't Schip's men that sees them host Glory as well as fellow title contenders Central Coast and Brisbane.

And while matches against the top-of-the-table Mariners on Wednesday and second-placed Roar on Saturday loom as critical encounters for the Heart, van 't Schip was quick to highlight the importance of their clash with Perth.

"After this week it could be a lot more clear (if Heart will finish high on the ladder) but it also can mean that you're maybe back into the mix of a lot of teams," he said.

"We have to watch every game game-by-game and not talk about the games that are coming on Wednesday and Saturday because it's not important.

"Tomorrow is the most important game and a win would be fantastic because it will lift us up again clearly to the second spot and get a little bit of a gap to all of the teams who are following us."

In-form striker Eli Babalj said a win against Perth would set the Heart up nicely for the matches with the Mariners and Roar.

"We know it'll be tough starting with Perth, they've had a couple of good results ... but I think we've shown this season that we can compete with anyone," Babalj said.

Babalj, 19, has credited his recent run of form, which has seen him score goals in two of his last three matches, to the rapid improvement in the team.

But he hosed down comparisons between himself and Australian football great Mark Viduka.

"I think it's a bit premature and I don't think it's fair for me to be compared to him because at my age he was a superstar," Babalj said.

"In this league as soon as you have one or two good games, everyone starts pumping you up."