Victory out to ease congestion

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has set his sights on a top-two finish in the Hyundai A-League this season to ease the potential for serious congestion at finals time.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has set his sights on a top-two finish in the Hyundai A-League this season to ease the potential for serious congestion at finals time.

Three points clear atop the Hyundai A-League table after 17 rounds, the Victory face a hectic February and March when three of their midweek Asian Champions League fixtures overlap the Hyundai A-League finals, including the Grand Final on Saturday 20 March.

"Because of our commitments in the Asian Champions League it's even more important that we finish first or second in this competition," Merrick said after training at Monash University on Thursday.

"It reduces the number of games we have to play in the finals."

The Victory will have three days at best to prepare for the opening match of their ACL campaign against Beijing Guoan in Beijing on Tuesday 23 February after contesting Week 1 of the Hyundai A-League finals scheduled for the previous weekend.

There's a similar turnaround for the Victory's home fixture against Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma on March 9 which falls hard up against Week 2 of the Hyundai A-League Finals.

And should Melbourne happen to qualify for the Hyundai A-league Grand Final on Saturday March 20, they'll be taking on Kawasaki Frontale in Japan the following Tuesday.

"There are two games we have to play; one will be away to Beijing and one will be at home and I'm sure the FFA will assist us where they can with scheduling," said Merrick.

"The bottom line is that it's a great problem to have, knowing that we've got a good chance of playing in the A-League finals and we're playing in the Asian Champions League."

"We're having a meeting after this to look at the logistics of it all, but there's too many things that we can't determine at the moment because we don't know where we're going to finish."