JVS keeps options open

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip is keeping an open mind about the make-up of his side for Friday night's critical clash with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Melbourne Heart coach John van 't Schip is keeping an open mind about the make-up of his side for Friday night's critical clash with Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.

His main dilemma is how best to accommodate Josip Skoko, now fully recovered from an adductor strain, and Kristian Sarkies who's slowly working his way back to form after a delayed start to the season because of a broken leg.

"Maybe the one has to fill the gap for the other at the moment," said van 't Schip after training at Latrobe University on Thursday.

"They're both not ready to play 90 minutes."

"Sarkies is an extra player for us, coming back from an injury, like a new player."

"The difficult thing now with Kristian is that, not having a pre-season, we can't fit him in the normal way that would be good for him, but we have our thoughts about how we can get him into the game and let him play as long as possible."

Van 't Schip said he was pleased with Skoko's fitness but undecided about whether the 35-year-old should start.

"He's physically OK, but he didn't play for a few weeks," said van 't Schip.

"He's an important player, he has the experience, he has the view and he can also help other players on the pitch, so for us it's extremely important that he's back."

Nick Kalmar will fill Gerald Sibon's playmaker role until the big Dutchman returns from a hamstring strain early in the New Year, but the coach appears less certain about what to do with Michael Beauchamp who's been displaced at the back by Simon Colosimo.

Van 't Schip said he doesn't feel inclined to shift Matt Thompson into the midfield to create a spot for Beauchamp despite Thompson's howler in last week's derby that gifted Robbie Kruse his second goal in a 3-1 defeat.

"I'm very happy with the way that Matt's playing from out of the back even though we all saw that he made a terrible mistake against the Victory," he said.

"We all make mistakes and all the defensive players we've had this year are making mistakes so that's not something that makes me change the way I see the game."

"Simon is doing very well and he's taken the spot of Michael but tomorrow is another game and we have to see if that's going to be the same."

Van 't Schip said his players know exactly what to expect from second-placed United, but they're confident they can arrest a winless streak that stands at six matches.

"With a good result we are still in the race for the playoffs," he said.

"The longer the run of not winning continues you also know it's going to be difficult to get into the playoffs, so we have to start getting results as soon as possible."

"Creating chances is not the problem but finishing is at the moment and of course we get some goals against very easy."

"There are both sides that we have to work on but the game itself is OK."