Preview: Melbourne Victory v Gold Coast United

Victory need to win this clash to keep alive their finals hopes, while Gold Coast will also been keen to pick up the three points given their predicament at the bottom of the ladder.

Date: Wednesday 1 February, 2012 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT Venue: Aurora Stadium, Launceston

Head-to-head Played 8: Wins: Melbourne Victory 5, Gold Coast United 3, Drawn: 0

Previous encounter Melbourne Victory 3, Gold Coast 2, 27 November 2011

History: The two sides have met just once this season, with former Victory boss Mehmet Durakovic guiding his side to a rare win on home soil. Victory looked to be cruising when up 2-0 in the early stages, but a straight red card to defender Rody Vargas turned the game on its head.

Gold Coast got it back to 2-2 shortly after half-time, but Carlos Hernandez struck late with a header to make it 3-2. It is interesting to note that the clubs are yet to play out a draw through their first eight meetings.


Past five matches: Melbourne Victory: LWDLD Gold Coast: DLDLL

Summary of form: Victory are yet to really settle under new boss Jim Magilton, with the club having recorded one win, two draws and a loss since the Northern Irishman joined. Scoring goals hasn't been a problem for Victory this season, but they have had some concerns at the back.

Victory's last clean sheet was way back in November and they have allowed seven goals in their last three matches.

Gold Coast's form can be described as patchy at best. Their last triumph was over a month ago and they currently sit six points off second bottom placed Adelaide. They haven't had the best of luck this campaign, but they need to start picking up a couple of wins or the wooden spoon will be theirs.

Match Committee: Victory welcome back veteran striker Danny Allsopp to their side after his one-match ban for a straight red against Perth, but he may have to make do with a spot on the bench following Isaka Cernak's impressive showing last round against Sydney. Tireless midfielder Leigh Broxham could be in line for a recall for Victory after he was dropped for the Sydney clash.

Maceo Rigters should be available for Gold Coast, but they will have to manage without Paul Beekmans as he has been released from the remainder of his contract on compassionate grounds.

Glen Moss (adductor), Joel Porter (calf), Tahj Minniecon (heel), Chris Broadfoot (ankle) and Dylan Macallister (hamstring) are all long-term absentees.

Danger men:

Isaka Cernak - The 22-year-old scored his first goal of the campaign for Victory last round and will be full of confidence heading into this clash. The highly talented footballer looks set for a sustained run in the starting XI and could be a dangerous man to mark for the Gold Coast defence.

Ben Halloran - The dangerous midfielder has been Gold Coast's most consistent performer this season and his runs into the box will need to be closely marked by the Victory defence. The hard working 19-year-old has scored three times this campaign and has attempted 25 shots on goal.

At the end of the day... Victory need to win this clash to keep alive their finals hopes, while Gold Coast will also been keen to pick up the three points given their predicament at the bottom of the ladder.

You would expect the visitors to be a little bit more fresh heading into this encounter given they didn't play on the weekend due to a wet conditions on the Gold Coast, but it's hard to pick them with any confidence given they have only three wins to their name this season.

With Harry Kewell starting to find some form and Archie Thompson a constant threat up front, we expect Victory to get the points in the first competitive A-League game to be played in Tasmania.