Victory scuttle Viduka talk

Melbourne Victory has ruled out a swoop for former Qantas Socceroos captain Mark Viduka despite losing marquee striker Archie Thompson until at least the start of 2011 with a serious knee injury.

Melbourne Victory has ruled out a swoop for former Qantas Socceroos captain Mark Viduka despite losing marquee striker Archie Thompson until at least the start of 2011 with a serious knee injury.

Thompson collided with Sydney FC defender Simon Colosimo early in Saturday's Grand Final loss to Melbourne and fell awkwardly rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament.

The injury has shattered Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick, who is in Japan preparing for Tuesday night's Asian Champions League clash with Kawasaki Frontale. Merrick said the blow to Thompson, who was hoping for selection in the World Cup, was almost worse than losing the Grand Final on penalties.

"I find it personally very tough to take it about Archie. I was upset at the fact that Archie is not only not going to not be available for us, which is hard, but Archie is going to miss out on his dream of playing in the World Cup. I don't know how he's going to bounce back from that," he said.

Viduka spoke publicly for the first time on Friday, saying he was still undecided as to whether his football career was over. But Merrick denied that his club would pursue the former Celtic, Leeds, Middlesbrough and Newcastle striker in Thompson's absence.

"I have known Mark since he was 15 and you couldn't meet a nicer guy. Of course we've always spoken, he's spoken to some of the players. You know he's been down to our training. Mark has no intention of playing football, he's happy where he is," Merrick said.

"I think that part of his life, he's moved on from there. We won't be talking to him about playing for Melbourne Victory. Whatever Mark decides to do, Mark decides to do. I'm surprised that his name keeps coming up but he's such a terrific player."

"But I don't want to talk about that. I really want to focus on what we're doing here. We're not looking down the track. We are always looking for recruits but I'm not going to comment on it any more."

But while Merrick feels his own sense of devastation for the end of Thompson's World Cup dream, he has backed his players to bounce back quickly from a tough week.

"The boys are resilient. We've had to put up with this month after month during the year and I think they'll get up again. There's a few characters in the team," he said. "Before long you get that team spirit back again and that's started already."