JVS to keep things fresh

Melbourne Heart manager John van 't Schip is planning to rotate his squad as much as possible ahead of a busy period on the road that kicks off at Skilled Park on Friday night.

Melbourne Heart manager John van 't Schip is planning to rotate his squad as much as possible ahead of a busy period on the road that kicks off at Skilled Park on Friday night.

Van 't Schip's side take on the Hyundai A-League's bottom side, Gold Coast United, in the first of four away matches in the next five weeks.

In what shapes to be a season-defining spell, the Heart travel to the Central Coast, Brisbane and Perth in a stint made tougher by the absence of Olyroos representatives Mate Dugandzic, Aziz Behich and Jason Hoffman for the next fortnight.

Van 't Schip admitted losing some of his key men presents a challenge, but that he had other options available to him.

"It's a very tough challenge," van 't Schip said.

"It's about keeping strong, keeping the players we have available fit, we need everybody that is available. Losing players with injuries and international duties...that's something we have to cope with."

"We have the options...Eli (Babalj), David Williams, Rutger Worm, Adrian Madaschi, Simon Colosimo and those players have to fill in the gap now."

An impressive 3-0 win against the Newcastle Jets in their last match lifted the Heart from the bottom of the table but if they are to rise further, they must start converting draws - of which they have had four from six matches this season - into wins, according to van 't Schip.

"The table showed last year that if you have too many draws, it's not going to help you that much and we've already had a few," he said.

"It's better to win one, lose one, than have draws. If you really want to get into higher positions then you have to start winning games."

With three of Heart's starting 11 from last week needing replacing, van 't Schip has spent the last week tossing up who to start on the Gold Coast.

Striker Babalj made a superb cameo off the bench against Newcastle, setting up Fred with a terrific assist for the game's first goal and generally creating havoc up front.

But his manager was non-committal on whether Babalj would be thrown into the starting line-up, casting doubt on whether he and Rutger Worm had the match fitness to complete a full match.

"They (Babalj and Worm) are fit but whether they can play ninety minutes... that's something that we can't say now," he said.

"Rutger played ninety minutes in the youth team but that's different. Ask Brendan Hamill, he played ninety minutes in the youth and was cramping after 60 in the A-League."

Van 't Schip also has selection headaches at the back, with Colosimo back from suspension, Curtis Good back from Young Socceroos duty and the impressive Adrian Madaschi fresh from a cameo on the bench on his Heart debut against Newcastle.