Merrick dismisses dominance

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is adamant that his club's total dominance over Adelaide over the past two seasons is not a factor heading into the clash between the traditional rivals on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is adamant that his club's total dominance over Adelaide over the past two seasons is not a factor heading into the clash between the traditional rivals on Saturday night at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne has recorded an extraordinary eight consecutive wins over the Reds in the past two seasons, including the 1-0 success over them in last year's Hyundai A-League Grand Final. Given Melbourne is currently close to the top of the ladder and Adelaide on the bottom, you would think that would make Aurelio Vidmar's task of ending that hoodoo close to impossible.

But Merrick is steadfast in his belief that history is history and while his players may carry a little extra confidence into Saturday's match, they can't afford to go into the match with a complacent attitude.

"We've made a point of it having no effect. It's history. Whether a team's at the top or the bottom, Adelaide's always a tough game. You take confidence from your previous games against them but it's a whole new ball game on Saturday night," he said.

"It's about us playing our best football and not getting ahead of ourselves."

Merrick believes Adelaide's sudden fall from title contender to cellar dweller is evidence of not only the fickle nature of the sport, but also the closeness of the Hyundai A-League.

"It is tough. Aurelio was coach of the year last year. Did a great job. They nearly beat us for the premiership. They got all the way to the final of the Asian Champions League," he said.

"It just shows you that football is a tough game season to season. We always expect Adelaide to be a very tough game. If we stick to the way we are playing, then that's what we can focus on."

Melbourne will go into the game with much of the same starting XI as it took into the 6-2 drubbing of Perth last week. Merrick shrugged off any concerns over the possible fitness of veteran midfielder Grant Brebner, who took a heavy knock to his ankle at training.

"The only worry is that a Scotsman got felled by a Costa Rican. That can't happen," he joked. "He's fine, he just got a kick on the ankle. He didn't twist his ankle or anything. He's just getting soft in his old age."

"There won't be any changes in the squad. It was a terrific performance, there wasn't a bad player on the park, we scored six, and we could have got a couple more."

However, injured defensive trio Matthew Kemp, Surat Sukha and Evan Berger are likely to be available for next Tuesday's clash with Wellington or the match at Skilled Park against Gold Coast next Friday.