Merrick: Victory well prepared

Winning form, a settled line-up and the return of skipper Kevin Muscat has the Melbourne Victory better-placed for Saturday night's clash with Brisbane Roar than when the teams last met just seven weeks ago, according to coach Ernie Merrick.

Winning form, a settled line-up and the return of skipper Kevin Muscat has the Melbourne Victory better-placed for Saturday night's clash with Brisbane Roar than when the teams last met just seven weeks ago, according to coach Ernie Merrick.

Merrick believes the Victory have improved significantly since Round 2 when they fought back from 0-2 and 1-3 down to claim the club's first point for the season in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Etihad Stadium.

Speaking after training at Olympic Park on Friday, Merrick said his players have taken on board the lessons of Round 2 and appreciate the perils of playing catch-up.

"The good thing is Brisbane Roar play a very open game of football and it will be end-to-end stuff and that certainly suits us," said Merrick.

"In the last 12 months I think that we've only lost two games at Etihad Stadium so it's great to be at home again."

While last time around Melbourne was coming off a deflating 2-0 defeat in the season-opener to Central Coast, this time its form - successive wins on the road - is far more substantial.

"To get six points in two games against teams like Adelaide and league-leaders Gold Coast, we're really happy with that," Merrick said.

"But we want to build on that and try and get another six points in the next two home games."

"I never felt we were out of form, I just felt as though it was a consistency thing and we've had to change the starting eleven every week."

"We're getting back to our strongest line-up and the team won't change too much from last week."

Another point of difference is the captain's partnership at the back with Adrian Leijer. The pair, neither of whom played in Round 2, has been highly influential in the past fortnight.

"There's no doubt that they've got a couple of good strikers but we've got the addition this time of Adrian Leijer and Kevin Muscat and that might make a big difference for us, I think it will," said Merrick.

"(Kevin)'s not only defending well and inspiring the players around him but he's setting up great opportunities for the strikers, so he is a huge addition to have back."

"They've got good players, a good team, they got a good result last week against Sydney, but we have to focus on how we play and if we get our game right and play consistently well for 90 minutes, the points will fall for us one way or another."

Tom Pondeljak, who's been named in the Victory squad after missing last week's win over Gold Coast, is not quite at full fitness according to Merrick, but should still have a role to play.

"I'm not sure that I would risk him for 90 minutes, but his back feels good, he was completely free at training yesterday, he was even better today and he'll certainly be back in the squad," he said.