Kevin Muscat says Keisuke Honda is in contention to feature in Melbourne Victory’s FFA Cup Round of 16 clash with APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Tuesday evening.
Honda joins returning Melbourne defender Nick Ansell and German stalwart Georg Niedermeier as new Victory arrivals hoping for a hit out against the NSW NPL outfit tomorrow night.
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Victory are set to fly out of Melbourne this afternoon and although the recently signed trio have all been training well in the past week, Muscat is still not sure whether they’ll be brought along for the trip to Sydney’s inner-west.
“It hasn’t been finalised,” Muscat told a media conference at Victory training this morning.
“What I will say is that Keisuke (Honda), Nick Ansell and Georg Niedermeier have trained well in the last week, not all of them with the team.
“We’ll just assess how they’ve all pulled up throughout the week and make a final decision in relation to travelling.
“At the moment, none of them will start, naturally after our last game and the training load that everyone’s had - but they’re all in contention to travel.”
The debut appearance of Honda has been one of the most highly anticipated talking points since his arrival down under earlier in the month.
And while much of the country has been engulfed in hype surrounding the Japanese superstar, Muscat says Honda has taken the big move to the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions in his stride.
“The biggest compliment I can play him and the whole situation is that the whole thing has been very normal,” he said.
“He’s fitted in really well with the group along with the other signings that have joined the club and getting into that position where we really believe we can go out and play without risk is what we’re working towards at the moment.”
Melbourne were FFA Cup winners in 2015 and will enter their clash with the Tigers as overwhelming favourites.
But Muscat is ensuring his side adopts a vigilant approach at Leichhardt Oval, and says Victory cannot afford to take the 2017 NSW NPL Premiers lightly.
“First and foremost, you’ve got to respect the opponent and after that once you’ve done your due diligence, respect yourself.
“Games like this are a test of your attitude and then your application, so we’re under no illusion that it’s a big night for APIA.
“Without looking at history, it’s naive of us not to learn from the past and learn from this history."
WATCH IT ON FOX SPORTS OR LIVE STREAM
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Tune into Channel 503 from 7:00pm AEST for the broadcast match between APIA and Victory.
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