The availability and form of Melbourne Victory’s attacking threats has given head coach Kevin Muscat some tough decisions to make this week.
Victory hosts Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Saturday, with Marco Rojas set to return to the squad after being on international duty with New Zealand.
Victory’s last game was a 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on November 12, when Max Beister scored on debut for the club after coming on as a second-half substitute.
In that match Fahid Ben Khalfallah made the most of his third start of the season with a lively performance, Mitch Austin continued his impressive form, and Jai Ingham scored his first goal of the campaign and provided the assist for Beister’s goal.
Victory’s players were put through their paces with extra training sessions last week, after the weekend’s game against Wellington Phoenix was postponed due to the earthquake in New Zealand.
The sessions only served to raise the intensity in training, particularly with spots up for grabs in the front third.
“There’s some competition for places. It’s even greater now,” Muscat told SEN.
“Prior to Marco leaving (for international duty) I thought Mitch Austin and Marco either side of Bes (Besart Berisha) were working ever so well together.
“Jai comes on last week and has a massive impact on the game off the bench. Fahid had some glimpses of his old self in that second half.
“(Max Beister has) definitely got some quality and he’ll add to that front third.
“Ultimately we’ve got to assess not only how they’re playing, but how they’re training, because I do believe that the way you train, you’ll take that attitude and that physical capacity into the game.”
Muscat also addressed the growing speculation about international football stars joining the Hyundai A-League this season, in particular Liverpool great Steven Gerrard.
“We’ve been contacted in relation to a few players, but any discussions with those players will obviously remain confidential. But at this stage there’s no chance,” Muscat said.
Tickets for Saturday’s match against the Jets at AAMI Park are available here.
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