Season Preview: Melbourne Victory

We preview the season ahead for the Melbourne Victory who have the squad to again challenge the league's top teams.

We preview the season ahead for the Melbourne Victory who have the squad to again challenge the league's top teams.

Team Coming off a strong season in 2012/13 the Victory will be confident that success is just around the corner. Ange Postecoglou-s men finished third on the ladder before going on to lose in the semi-final against the Central Coast Mariners but with some strong additions to the squad know they can challenge the league-s top teams in the year ahead.

Socceroos representative James Troisi returned home on loan from Serie A club Atalanta and will be looking to earn himself a spot in Holger Osieck-s side for the 2014 World Cup. Another of Postecoglou-s late season signings in Pablo Contreras will help to improve the Victory-s defence that conceded 45 goals throughout last season which was five more than the Heart side that finished second last.

Victory supporters will also be buoyed by the fact that Mark Milligan remains in the navy blue for the year ahead. Constant off-season speculation had almost everyone convinced that Milligan was going to depart to play in the English Premier League alongside fellow Socceroo Mile Jedinak at Crystal Palace but the Victory believed he was being undervalued and held on to the holding midfielder.

The side began their long pre-season in front of a packed Melbourne Cricket Ground as the young Victory side did themselves proud as they went down 2-0. Some solid performances ensued with their final match against an A-League opponent seeing them claim a 3-0 win over the Wanderers in Tasmania which will give them confidence for the season ahead.

Manager Widely regarded as one of the Hyundai A-League-s top managers Ange Postecoglou heads into his second season with the Victory. Postecoglou led Brisbane Roar on a 36 unbeaten run and back-to-back grand final victories in his previous role before making the big move south and had a strong opening season with his new club. He has made some astute additions to his squad knowing his defence needs to improve and held strong on not letting Milligan depart. Postecoglou-s record in the league is second to none and the Victory faithful know their side his in extremely capable hands.

Star player Despite some fantastic off-season signings, the glue in the centre of the park in new Victory captain Mark Milligan is extremely influential in the club-s 2013/14 ambitions. Milligan was entrusted with the captaincy in the off-season by Postecoglou and will again be looking to put in the performances that has seen attract interest from Europe. The Socceroos representative had a slight setback in the club-s final match of the pre-season when he was forced off the field but is aiming to play in the upcoming Socceroos friendlies before returning to lead his men as they aim for trophies in the season ahead.

Fans Melbourne Victory fans were treated to something a little extra in the off-season as they graced the stands of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and watched on as Liverpool made a trip down under. With over 19000 members on board the Victory create one of the league-s best atmospheres week-in week-out and since the competition-s inception have turned up in their tens of thousands to cheer their boys on. With some great signings and a premier coach there is no doubt the stands will be packed and the fans will be vocal in 2013/14.

Ins and Outs

In Mitch Nichols (from Brisbane Roar) Kosta Barbarouses (from FC Alania, Russia) James Troisi (from Atalanta, Italy - on loan) Pablo Contreras (from Olympiakos, Greece)

Out Marcos Flores (to Central Coast Mariners) Diogo Ferreira (to Brisbane Roar) Tando Velaphi (to Melbourne Heart) Marco Rojas (to VfB Stuttgart, Germany) Daniel Mullen (Dalian Aerbin, China) Billy Celeski (to Al Shaab, UAE) Sam Gallagher (to Richmond, Victorian Premier League) Spase Dilevski (released) Theo Markelis (released) Matthew Foschini (released)