Vargas set to miss derby

Rody Vargas looks the likely victim of a defensive reshuffle for Melbourne Victory ahead of Saturday's crucial Melbourne derby against Heart at AAMI Park.

Rody Vargas looks the likely victim of a defensive reshuffle for Melbourne Victory ahead of Saturday's crucial Melbourne derby against Heart at AAMI Park.

With Matthew Kemp and Surat Sukha both fit to fill the full back positions and Adrian Leijer returning from suspension, one of the centre backs must make way and it was Vargas who trained with the fluorescent jersey on Thursday as part of the second choice XI.

If Vargas was to be left out it would be the first time since he joined the club at the start of the 2006-07 season that he has been dropped from Victory's line-up.

Coach Ernie Merrick confirmed that one of the central defenders would miss out, but described any change as a 'rest' rather than a rotation.

"It's good that we've got our two full backs back in. One of the centre backs will have a break. We've been changing them over during the training sessions, but one of them will have a break this week. I won't say which one yet," Merrick said.

"I'm not rotating the centre backs. I'm going to go with a game plan that suits us against this type of formation and it might mean that one of the centre backs have a rest."

"Players like Ado and Rody, play week in, week out and it's not such a bad thing they get a break at some stage."

Merrick believes the change in plan will allow Melbourne to perform more consistently over the 90 minutes.

"What we've been missing 90 minutes of football in defence and attack. It's defending well right to the end of the game and attacking with the same strength and positive approach."

Captain Kevin Muscat revealed that there had been a lot of work done on the defence, which has conceded seven goals in three games - in the past few days.

"The last few days, Ernie has tried a few different things. We're yet to find out what we are going to go with. We come up against a different opposition this week. He'll take that into account and make a decision tomorrow," he said.

Merrick said the time of relying on good football to get the job done was over, and the team needed a good result against heart to kick start the season again.

"It's about results now, it's not so much about performance. It's good to see we are performing so well and scoring goals, we've scored seven in the last three, but we've conceded seven," he said.

"The derby will be a tough game, no matter what out situations are coming into this. We've both got returning players. We've got four players who never played in the last derby, Brebner, Angulo, Kempy and Archie, four strong players. We're set up well for it, we're ready to go, but I'm sure it is going to be a very tough game."

Merrick confirmed that Leigh Broxham will miss the next two weeks with a calf muscle injury, while the club will proceed with caution with Ricardinho, who is back in full training after a knee injury but is unlikely to play for three or four weeks.