Victory lose Vargas

Melbourne Victory's injury woes have worsened with vice-captain Rody Vargas ruled out of Saturday night's match against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Victory's injury woes have worsened with vice-captain Rody Vargas ruled out of Saturday night's match against Adelaide at Etihad Stadium.

Vargas has been ruled out for two matches with a thigh strain joining last year's grand final hero Tommy Pondeljak on the sidelines with Pondeljak having already been ruled out for four to six weeks with a calf injury.

Both players picked up their injuries during last week's 3-1 win over Newcastle, which lifted the Victory into third spot and just two points from top spot ahead of their first clash against Adelaide in Melbourne since last year's 1-0 win over the Reds in the grand final.

The loss of the experienced pair continues a testing run of injuries to the reigning Hyundai A-League champions this season with midfield anchor Billy Celeski already out for the rest of the season with a knee injury while experienced midfielder Nick Ward is still recovering from a staph infection and even skipper Kevin Muscat missed five matches earlier in the season with a hamstring injury.

But Vargas has been ever-present in the Victory side and Saturday night's clash will be the first match he will have missed since Round 12 of the 2007-08 season due to suspension.

The loss of both Vargas and Pondeljak means that young defender Matthew Foschini - son of former AFL star Silvio - returns to the squad for the clash against Adelaide while recently recruited Thai guest player Sutee Suksomkit will also feature in the squad for the first time.

A Melbourne Victory spokesman told Sportal on Thursday the club was still hoping to name its other recent signing in Costa Rican midfielder Marvin Angulo in the squad for this week's game but as yet his registration had still not been formally approved although the club is expecting the necessary paperwork to go through shortly.

The loss of Vargas and Pondeljak leaves holes both in defence and in midfield for Melbourne, which is desperate for a home win having won just once in six starts at Etihad Stadium this season while a two-goal loss on Saturday night would see the sixth-placed Reds leapfrog them on the ladder.

And Vargas' absence will place further pressure on a Victory defence which has already conceded 16 goals in 11 games this season - the equal-third worst defensive record in the competition.

Foschini, who is yet to start for the Victory having made three appearances as a substitute, is the logical replacement for Vargas while Pondeljak's place in the starting XI could go to either Suksomkit or another impressive youth league graduate in Mate Dugandzic.

Dugandzic, like his former youth team colleague Foschini, is yet to start a game for the Victory but made a huge impact in the second half as a substitute in last week's win over Newcastle when he helped Melbourne turn a 1-0 half-time deficit into a 3-1 win.