Leijer in doubt for derby

Melbourne Victory captain Adrian Leijer remains in significant doubt for Saturday's derby clash against Melbourne Heart, with the defender still struggling with a shoulder injury suffered in Wednesday's draw against Gold Coast United.

Melbourne Victory captain Adrian Leijer remains in significant doubt for Saturday's derby clash against Melbourne Heart, with the defender still struggling with a shoulder injury suffered in Wednesday's draw against Gold Coast United.

Leijer battled through with the injury throughout the second half of the match in Launceston and will be given until match day to prove he is ready to take on the Heart.

Victory coach Jim Magilton said the short turnaround is not in Leijer's favour and he was hopeful rather than optimistic that he would take his place in the starting XI.

"We are going to assess him again [on Saturday]. He's in good hands with the medical department. Obviously the turnaround is pretty quick. We will see what he is like [Saturday] afternoon," Magilton said.

"But he's the skipper and it's a derby and he wants to play."

Magilton admitted that Leijer would be less than fully fit for the match regardless and if he did play would expect his shoulder to get a proper workout from the Heart defence.

"Maybe he has to play a little bit cleverer. Maybe he has to think about that with the person he is playing against," he said.

"He's a centre half. He knows once he steps out on the park, he is going to have that physical confrontation. The first thing you can put your house on is that X marks the spot and as a professional footballer, we have all been there."

"If you are carrying an injury, someone is going to bump into you or kick you. it will be the first spot. Players have a sixth sense about this."

"He's well aware of that and we are not going to take chances. But we will see how he is."

It is a similar prognosis for full back Matthew Kemp, who suffered knock to the back on Wednesday.

While Victory will be weakened if Leijer was to miss, Heart are already contemplating a match without their two key midfielders Fred and Matt Thompson as well as young guns Mate Dugandzic, Jason Hoffman and Aziz Behich.

Despite missing arguably his four most influential players of the campaign, Heart coach John van 't Schip, who is looking to end a six-match run without a win, has every faith in the players he has to get the job done.

"I expect that the boys will cope very well with everything. With the loss of Matt. We know Fred is important for us, but if you keep on talking about that, you don't get anywhere," he said.

"We just have to move on work with the players that we have and I'm very confident in all the players. I'm enjoying seeing what the players are developing, but then again, results are very important."

Paul Reid is set to make his debut for the Heart, while Wayne Srhoj should be recalled to bolster a midfield which has been decimated in recent weeks.

Van 't Schip is adamant that despite the fact it is a derby and he is having far from his first choice XI to pick from, he won't alter his game plan.

"If we can win with good football, and it can be a nice game and a great game for the people than of course I would sign for that first, but the most important thing is getting results and since the New Year, we are short on getting the points on what we think we should," he said.

"My first object has always been the way of playing and if you train on that and you talk about that, then the results will come at the end. But sometimes, you win without that game of thinking and play."