Victory pair race to be fit

Melbourne pair Nick Ward and Michael Thwaite faces a race against time to be fit for the Hyundai A-League blockbuster between Melbourne and Adelaide at Telstra Dome next Friday.

Melbourne pair Nick Ward and Michael Thwaite faces a race against time to be fit for the Hyundai A-League blockbuster between Melbourne and Adelaide at Telstra Dome next Friday.

Victory assistant coach Aaron Healey said Ward and Thwaite were only a 50-50 chance to take on the unbeaten Reds but would be given all of next week to prove they are over calf and ankle injuries respectively

"They are probably a 50-50 chance at the moment. We'll know next week when they start doing load bearing stuff and they are out on the track. This week they've done the rehab and they are doing well at that," Healey said.

Ward has not played at all so far this campaign after being struck down by a calf problem on the eve of the season. He is making progress, but it is slower than the club would have hoped when he first suffered the injury.

Thwaite rolled his ankle early in last Friday's 5-0 win over Newcastle and he came off after just 20 minutes. The new recruit has been a massive bonus for Victory this season and they would love to have him back for such a crucial match.

One player Healey does not believe will play against Adelaide is Costa Rican Jose Luis Lopez. The defensive midfielder does not get back from international duty until next Thursday.

"He flies back the day before the Adelaide game, so it's unlikely he'll play. I'd say he's no chance of playing," he said.

Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide are all on seven points after three games and even this early in the season there is a sense that the three big clubs are set to have a significant say in the finals. But Healey said there is no extra expectation on this match just because it's against the Reds.

"At the end of the day, it's three points up for grabs. It's still early on in the season, we're focused on accumulating points as we go. Hopefully we get the three points and move on and upwards, whether we play Adelaide or whoever we play, the three points are out there to win them," he said.