Langerak tipped to shine

Experienced Melbourne defender Adrian Leijer has tipped current stand-in keeper Mitch Langerak to have a great career as the young understudy to the under-pressure Glenn Moss looks set to have an extended run in the Victory side.

Experienced Melbourne defender Adrian Leijer has tipped current stand-in keeper Mitch Langerak to have a great career as the young understudy to the under-pressure Glenn Moss looks set to have an extended run in the Victory side.

Langerak, 21, came in for his first game of the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League season last weekend after Moss was dropped and promptly played a major role in the reigning champions keeping their first clean sheet in eight matches as Melbourne moved to the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Brisbane.

It was only the third time in 15 matches this season that Melbourne has kept a clean sheet as the Victory's defence prepares for one of its toughest tests of the season when new Hyundai A-League glamour club Gold Coast visits Etihad Stadium for the first time on Saturday night.

Leijer, who sent a scare through the Victory camp at training on Tuesday when he went down with a knee injury only to quickly recover and see out the session, says the team's defence has full confidence in the inexperienced Langerak - who made just his fifth ever appearance for Melbourne last week after also filling in on several occasions for Melbourne's former No.1 goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos last season.

"Mitch was great last week," Leijer said of the Victory's number two keeper.

"He is a great keeper and we knew he was ready (to play)."

"He is 21 now and has had his time on the sidelines and he showed he has got the maturity to go with it and have a great career."

As for Langerak himself, well the young keeper is not sure how long he will remain in the side but is just delighted to finally be given an opportunity after having spent the first half of the season waiting for his chance.

But as Moss, who until recently was also New Zealand's No.1 keeper and is expected to go to the World Cup next year with the All Whites, kept conceding goals - including 13 in the past seven matches before Langerak took over last weekend - the youngster now gets an opportunity for a possible extended run in the team.

"It was an unusual experience coming in midway through the season but I enjoyed my chance to get out there and play my first game of the season," he said on Tuesday.

"And hopefully I will get more chance as the season progresses but I will take it as it comes."

Life as the No.2 keeper can be tough at a professional football club - never knowing when you will play and when you do just how long you will stay in the side - but Langerak is happy to be judged on his performances.

"If I perform well I will get more opportunities but at this point I will just take each game as it comes," he said.

"It's hard to an extent but I would rather be in this position where I am playing rather than not playing at all and knowing you are on the bench so to be in this position and get the chance to play a couple of games is a good thing."

Meanwhile the club announced on Tuesday that it has re-signed veteran Tom Pondeljak - who scored the only goal in last season's grand final win over Adelaide, to a one-year contract extension tying the 33-year-old to the club until the end of the 2010/11 season.