Pilkington gets ACL chance

Football Superstar winner Luke Pilkington has been named in a 25-man squad for Melbourne Victory's Asian Champions League campaign along with a five other players from the club's National Youth League team, while injured midfielder Billy Celeski also features.

Football Superstar winner Luke Pilkington has been named in a 25-man squad for Melbourne Victory's Asian Champions League campaign along with a five other players from the club's National Youth League team, while injured midfielder Billy Celeski also features.

Pilkington found his way to the Victory via the football reality program and was given his first Hyundai A-League appearance recently against North Queensland.

He has impressed in his time with the NYL team and has been included in the squad for the ACL along with Diogo Ferreira, Petar Franjic, Stephen Hatzikostas , Sebastian Mattei and Aziz Behich, who made his senior debut last week against Perth.

Celeski ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament early in the season but has made significant progress in his rehabilitation and could be considered if Melbourne makes the second round of the competition.

Melbourne is allowed three visa players, plus another from the Asian region with Scotsman Grant Brebner, Costa Ricans Carlos Hernandez and Marvin Angulo and Thai Surat Sukha filling the quota.

There are three notable absentees from the squad, with Nathan Elasi, Mathew Theodore and Steven Pace set to leave the club at the end of the Hyundai A-League season.

"2010 is going to be a memorable year for Melbourne Victory as we look forward to the business end of the Hyundai A-League season, the ACL and the opening of the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium," Melbourne Victory Football Operations Manager Gary Cole said.

"Most clubs competing in the ACL have had to trim their squads to fit within the AFC maximum of 30 players, but we're in a position where we've been able to promote some of our best performing National Youth League players, who have all earned their spots."

Melbourne Victory faces Beijing Guoan, Korea Republic's Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma and Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale in Group E, with its opening match in Beijing on February 23.

Melbourne Victory AFC Champions League 2010 squad: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (c), 3.Mate DUGANDZIC, 5.Surat SUKHA, 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 21.Robbie KRUSE, 22.Nick WARD, 23.Adrian LEIJER, 24.Luke PILKINGTON, 25.Aziz BEHICH, 26.Marvin ANGULO, 27.Stephen HATZIKOSTAS, 28.Diogo FERREIRA, 29.Petar FRANJIC, 30.Sebastian MATTEI (gk)