Zahra upbeat after surgery

Melbourne Heart winger Adrian Zahra is bearing up well, according to coach John van 't Schip, after undergoing surgery to repair ligament damage to his right knee.

Melbourne Heart winger Adrian Zahra is bearing up well, according to coach John van 't Schip, after undergoing surgery to repair ligament damage to his right knee.

Zahra was crunched in a cynical tackle by Kevin Muscat in last Saturday's Melbourne derby that earned the veteran Victory defender an eight-week suspension, the harshest penalty in Hyundai A-League history.

The Heart were hopeful Zahra had escaped significant injury but exploratory surgery on Thursday night uncovered damage to a lateral ligament that required immediate attention.

"We thought that maybe without surgery he could recover but the surgeon wanted to have a look and saw that there were some things that we didn't expect," said van 't Schip after training at La Trobe University.

"He will be out for a little bit longer, but we still have the hope that he can be at pre-season and start with some modified training and hopefully he will be on time for the start of the new season."

Van 't Schip said Zahra had taken the surgical setback in his stride and was already looking forward to attacking his rehab.

"He's a very positive boy, he will work very hard to come back stronger," said van 't Schip.

"We have good people around him who can help him, our medical people, the conditioning trainer and we are sure that he's going to come back strong."

Van 't Schip declined to comment on Muscat's suspension and insisted the matter hadn't been a distraction for his players who face competition leaders Brisbane Roar at Skilled Stadium on Saturday night.

Defender Michael Beauchamp failed to train on Friday because of illness.

The 29-year-old is expected to travel with the squad to the Gold Coast but is no certainty to line up.

With just three games to complete before the finals van 't Schip said his sixth-placed team has no choice but to take the game up to the championship favourites who are unbeaten in their past 22 games.

"We have to win," he said.

"Brisbane is a good team, we have all respect for what they are doing and they deserve to be where they are on the ladder but every game that they play, the loss is coming nearby as well."

"Hopefully we can make sure we are the team that can beat them."