Muscat: We must lift without Archie

Melbourne Victory skipper Kevin Muscat has called on the club’s marksmen to stand up in the absence of striker Archie Thompson, who is set to be sidelined for a month.

Melbourne Victory skipper Kevin Muscat has called on the club’s marksmen to stand up in the absence of striker Archie Thompson, who is set to be sidelined for a month.

Having only returned against Gold Coast United on November 6 after a quicker-than-expected recovery from the knee reconstruction he underwent after last season’s grand final, Thompson had just scored his third goal in seven matches on Saturday night when disaster struck.

Thompson opened the scoring against Perth Glory after a Robbie Kruse back-heel enabled him to regain possession and bang the ball past Tando Velaphi but in hurdling the advancing keeper immediately after connecting with his shot, Thompson’s celebrations were short-lived.

He limped away and had to be substituted, leaving his Asian Cup finals hopes in ruins but after confirming on Wednesday that Thompson will be out until at least mid-January, Muscat was quick to urge his team-mates to respond to Thompson’s absence.

“Adding Archie to any team and they’re a better side and there’s no doubt when he’s in our team, we’re a better side,” Muscat said on Wednesday morning.

“I have no hesitation in saying when he is playing we’re a much more dangerous team going forward than when we’re without him.”

“But like I said, players are going to have to step up now and we’re going to have to get some results.”

After an inconsistent campaign so far the Victory have now gone four games unbeaten and won their past two matches, against the Heart and the Glory, but they will also be without defender Matthew Kemp for a fortnight.

With a busy period coming up in which the club plays eight games from December 27 to January 30, and the possibility Kruse could be on the plane to Qatar with the Qantas Socceroos, Kemp is another who will be missed.

But with concerns he could have been unavailable for even longer after straining his groin in just his third Hyundai A-League game following knee surgery of his own last February, the fact that Kemp will only miss two weeks is a bigger positive.

The Victory also confirmed on Wednesday that successful businessman and board member and director Richard Wilson will take up the role of interim managing director of the club when chief executive Geoff Miles officially departs on December 31.

Club chairman Geoff Lord was delighted with the appointment of Wilson, who has also been far more heavily involved since becoming Commercial Director three months ago, while Wilson is looking forward to the challenge he is taking on including finding a new major partner for the club.

“Richard has a very good understanding of the business and brings with him very good ideas as to how the club will be shaped into the future,” Lord said.

“His knowledge of the staff and detail of the business operations will ensure a smooth transition, with Geoff Miles departing at the conclusion of the year.”

“I’m genuinely excited about the challenge of taking both Melbourne Victory the club and Melbourne Victory the brand forward,” Wilson added.

“Coming from the board, I’ve understood the club, I’ve grown with the club over the journey, having been part of it for almost six years.”

“I understand where it’s been and more importantly where it needs to go.”