Victory stick to the plan

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick is adamant his side won't change its approach ahead of Wednesday night's must-win AFC Champions League match against Kawasaki Frontale at Docklands Stadium.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick is adamant his side won't change its approach ahead of Wednesday night's must-win AFC Champions League match against Kawasaki Frontale at Docklands Stadium.

Melbourne, which has had to handle the dual commitments of the ACL and the Hyundai A-League finals, is winless in three ACL games so far this campaign and has yet to score a goal, meaning it needs a miraculous revival if it is to make the second stage of the tournament.

Despite that record, Merrick has faith in the team's game plan and won't be altering how Victory approach this match.

"If we can get our best team out there, playing good football and playing a bit more fresh this time, I think we'll get something out of it," he said. "I would say that (the results so far) are more to do with the quality of the squad we are putting out and the level of fatigue."

"We haven't scored a goal and we've struggled to stop goals. The easy answer is the quality if the players we have put out. I don't think yet we have had our most experienced players out there. We are going into our fourth game now and we've never played Carlos (Hernandez), Robbie (Kruse) and Archie (Thompson) together with Rody (Vargas), Kevin (Muscat) and Adrian Leijer."

"So we've never had our strongest attack or our strongest defence in any ACL game. Mathematically, we still feel there is a chance here and we've got Robbie back, we've got Carlos back, we've got our strongest defence."

Merrick said that Marvin Angulo will likely come into the starting line-up while skipper Kevin Muscat will replace the suspended Leigh Broxham at the back.

"I think we've got a strong squad tomorrow and we are playing at home, I think that leaves us with no excuses," he said.

Merrick's counterpart at Kawasaki, Tsutomu Takahata, is also adamant he will go into the match with nothing but his best side.

"We have two players injured and one player suspended, but apart from that I have brought my strongest side to Melbourne," Takahata said through a translator.

Chong Tese misses through suspension, while Kengo Nakamura and Juninho remain sidelined with injuries. However, with the exception of the North Korean striker, Takahata will have the same side which demolished Melbourne 4-0 at the Todoroki Stadium last week.

However, while that result was a boost of confidence heading into this match, Takahata knows it will be a much harder assignment to defeat Melbourne on its home soil.

"Last week we were at home and that made a big difference. We have heard that Melbourne are a very good side on their home ground and we expect a very difficult match on Wednesday," he said.

"We know they didn't play their best last week and we must be mindful of that when approaching this match."

Kawasaki needs at least a point from the match if it is to keep its hopes of progressing to the second round on track. It trails second-placed Beijing Guoan by three points. Despite his club's precarious position, Takahata is confident Kawasaki can make the last 16.

"We are not that far of second place and that's our immediate goal to get to second. To finish first is much harder, but it's not impossible," he said.