Merrick stands by Brebner

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick will stick with out-of-form veteran midfielder Grant Brebner for Saturday night's tricky Hyundai A-League clash against Perth Glory despite having substituted the 31-year-old Scotsman at half-time in the past two matches.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick will stick with out-of-form veteran midfielder Grant Brebner for Saturday night's tricky Hyundai A-League clash against Perth Glory despite having substituted the 31-year-old Scotsman at half-time in the past two matches.

The league leaders face another long trip west this weekend, in what is their fourth away game in the past five matches, just a week after having made the equally long trip to face Wellington.

The Victory were shock 2-1 losers to the Phoenix last week, ending a three-match unbeaten run with Merrick critical of his team's midfielders in particular.

Brebner, who was taken off at half-time the previous week at home to Central Coast as he battled illness, was again substituted early in New Zealand but despite the fact talented youngster Evan Berger is back in the squad following a recent hamstring injury, Merrick has thrown his support behind his midfield anchorman.

"He was sick the first game and then the second game it was more or less because he was losing his discipline," Merrick said of the decision to bench one of his most experienced players in the last two weeks.

"He got a yellow card (against Wellington for dissent) and we have got strict rules on how to behave towards officials."

"But Grant is a key member of our midfield and he is one of the best passers (of the ball) forward in the league so he will be playing (against Perth) and he will be in the starting line-up."

With Berger fit again and Costa Rican international Carlos Hernandez getting close to full fitness after impressing as a second-half substitute in the past two matches following his recent quad strain, Merrick is in the luxurious position of having a full squad to pick from.

And while he has assured 31-year-old Brebner that his place is safe, Merrick did not rule out making other changes in a bid to freshen up his team at a time when it is in the middle of a demanding travel schedule.

"The boys have been playing really well but over the last four games, and now this is the fifth one, we have only had one at home," he said.

"But with Berger back from injury we have got the whole squad available and because we have played so many away games we need to freshen up (the team) a little bit and maybe change a couple of positions and maybe add one player."

However Merrick said the team's travel schedule would not be an excuse for another poor performance in Perth following the shock loss to Wellington - which luckily for the Victory did not affect their position on top of the table.

"We have had a lot of short, sharp training sessions (in between matches) with a lot of breathers in between so we have kept the (training) intensity up but not the volume of work," he said.

"The boys have responded really well to that and the medical team has done a great job but it's just the nature of the beast that we have got all these away games at present but then at the end of the season we have got a heap of home games but we have got to grind out three-point results on the road if we want to play in the finals."