Melbourne's Carlos bonus

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat says Sydney FC could well come to rue the fact that Costa Rican star Carlos Hernandez has not been called up for international duty this weekend leaving him free to play in Friday night's top-of-the-table Hyundai A-League blockbuster at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat says Sydney FC could well come to rue the fact that Costa Rican star Carlos Hernandez has not been called up for international duty this weekend leaving him free to play in Friday night's top-of-the-table Hyundai A-League blockbuster at Etihad Stadium.

Hernandez, who has scored four goals in eight appearances for the Victory this season, has been a regular for Costa Rica in recent times and was originally expected to miss Friday night's clash as the match coincides with the first of Costa Rica's two final World Cup qualifying matches as they battle it out with the United States, Mexico and Honduras for the three automatic qualifying berths from the tough CONCACAF region.

However Costa Rica's newly appointed manager Rene Simoes overlooked Hernandez for the October 10 and 14 games against Trinidad and Tobago and the US leaving him free to play for Melbourne against the Sky Blues.

"It's a blessing for us that he hasn't been selected and one we are very grateful for," Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat said of Hernandez on Thursday.

Muscat says Hernandez will revel in the big-game atmosphere on Friday night with the Hyundai A-League's current top two teams and the competition's fiercest rivals expected to draw a crowd of over 30,000 to Etihad Stadium.

"Carlos is not only creating goals but scoring some spectacular goals as well," Muscat said.

"He has really added that to his game this season."

After three wins in a row and a run of five unbeaten games in succession, the reigning Hyundai A-League champions are full of confidence heading into their first clash against Sydney this year.

And Melbourne has the added incentive of knowing another win will see them leapfrog a Sydney side currently one point ahead of them into top spot on the table.

"Our form over the last three weeks suggests that we have got a great opportunity to go top tomorrow night and that is what we have got to try and achieve," Muscat said.

And remembering how his side come from 2-0 down after three minutes to beat Sydney 3-2 in their last meeting in Melbourne, Muscat wants his team to 'get at' the visitors early on Friday night as he believes the Sky Blues are now a much tougher side to break down under new Czech coach Vitezslav Lavicka.

Sydney has conceded just seven goals in nine games this season - five less than Melbourne - with only Central Coast (five goals) having a better defensive record so far.

"One thing I have picked up with Sydney this year is they seem to be a lot more disciplined and a lot more organised and they don't give too much away and they don't give you as many chances as previous years so it's going to be a tight encounter," Muscat said.

"But we have been creating plenty of chances over the last three to four weeks and tomorrow night first and foremost it's about what we do."

"They are coming to Melbourne and they will play in front of their biggest crowd of the season and we want to put them to the sword nice and early - get after them, create chances and maybe take a few more chances than we have the past few weeks."