Victory deny Rojas deal

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has denied the club has signed rising Kiwi star Marco Rojas, despite suggestions from Wellington Phoenix that he had agreed to make the move to Victoria.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has denied the club has signed rising Kiwi star Marco Rojas, despite suggestions from Wellington Phoenix that he had agreed to make the move to Victoria.

Rojas, 19, has impressed for the Phoenix in the recently completed Hyundai A-League campaign and has become one of the hottest properties in the league in recent weeks, with several clubs linked to his signature.

Wellington chief executive Nathan Greenham said on Sunday that Rojas had told the club he was leaving, with Melbourne the destination.

But Merrick, in Japan preparing for the Asian Champions League match against Gamba Osaka, refuted suggestions Rojas had already penned a deal.

"We haven't signed any new players. There's no transfer of any players to our club. Our policy has always been not to discuss or speculate on any new players," he said.

"I don't discuss any prospective signings, never have, never will."

Merrick was a little more relaxed talking about the build-up to Tuesday's opening game of the club's AFC Champions League campaign.

"The flight over was very smooth. We have just finished a training session and it went well and we are all set for tomorrow's game," he said.

Archie Thompson is set to make his first start since injuring his hamstring in December, while Merrick has a tough decision to make as to whether Matthew Kemp or Surat Sukha starts the game.

"The good news is that Archie trained really well this morning," he said.

"Unless he comes up sore or something tomorrow morning (he'll start). It was a short session, but there were intense patches in it and he really pushed himself. The combination up front looked pretty good, Danny Allsopp and Robbie Kruse look good too."

Kevin Muscat will replace youngster Petar Franjic in the middle of defence, while Diogo Ferreira will hold onto his starting spot wide on the right.

"Diogo's been a regular and I'll have to say he's jumping out of his skin ready to play this game. His level of fitness is very good, his confidence is good, not just to defend, but to get forward and he was outstanding in training today," he said.

Merrick confirmed that the club's two new signings, Isaka Cernak and Tando Velaphi, will be on the bench for Tuesday's match, with Michael Petkovic preferred to Velaphi in goal while Cernak might get his chance later in the game.