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Jan 24, 2011   |  10:12PM AET

Preview: North Queensland Fury v Melbourne Victory

Preview: North Queensland Fury v Melbourne Victory

They’ve proved a hard team for us to beat. In five clashes, we have only beat the Fury twice by 1-0 and 2-0 in season 2009-10.

Date: Wednesday January 26
Kick-off: 8:00pm
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville.
Television: Live and exclusive on Fox Sports from 8:00pm (AEDT)
Live Match Centre:

Played 5: North Queensland Fury 1, Melbourne Victory 2. Draws: 2

Previous Meeting
North Queensland Fury 0, Melbourne Victory 0, Dairy Farmers Stadium, September 2010.

Why we don’t like ’em
Because they’ve proved a hard team for us to beat. In five clashes, we have only beaten the Fury twice by 1-0 and 2-0 in season 2009-10. This year we have split the points on both occasions, the first that 2-2 draw when a nine-man Fury pinched a pinch at AAMI Park. Our other match-up this season saw a 0-0 stalemate in Townsville. He-s hit the headlines this week for his partying antics, but Dyron Daal proved a match-winner in December 2009 with his 31st minute strike giving Fury their only success over us.

Past five matches:
North Queensland Fury:
Adelaide United 8, North Queensland Fury 1, Hindmarsh Stadium
Gold Coast United 4, North Queensland Fury 0, Skilled Park
Newcastle Jets 1, North Queensland Fury 0, Energy Australia Stadium
North Queensland Fury 1, Newcastle Jets 3, Dairy Farmers Stadium
Melbourne Heart 2, North Queensland Fury 0, AAMI Park

Melbourne Victory:
Melbourne Victory 2, Melbourne Heart 2, Etihad Stadium
Sydney FC 1, Melbourne Victory 1, SFS
Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 4, AAMI Park
Wellington Phoenix 2, Melbourne Victory 0, Westpac Stadium
Central Coast Mariners 1, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Stadium

Decisions for Ernie
With Kevin Muscat suspended, Victory will need to make some changes at the back. Adrian Leijer is a good chance to returns from injury and looks an obvious choice, while Petar Franjic will be considered as well. Evan Berger has also been named in an extended squad but Leigh Broxham, Surat Sukha and Archie Thompson are all unavailable through injury.

Behind Enemy Lines
The Fury, fresh from their 8-1 humiliation against Adelaide, get Adam Casey, Simon Storey, and Gareth Edds all back from injury, while Chris Payne ahs been included along with new signing Alex Read.

Storey and Edds are likely to start the match, while Payne is also a chance to find his way into a first XI which looked all at sea against the Reds last Friday.

Our Hero
Danny Allsopp – Allsopp has scored two goals in the last two games and is starting to get back to his best fitness and form. Victory need him firing late in the season if they are to ensure they get a finals spot.

Danger Man
David Williams – He may have had a horrid night last week along with the rest of his team, but Williams continues to be the Fury’s most dangerous weapon up front. His pace and skill on the ball make him a real danger and Victory’s new look defence will have to be on their guards.

Why we will win
It might be a short back up ahead of this game, but as long as Victory can produce a consistent 90-minute performance then we should get a vital three points in this match.

Against Heart last week, we let the visitors dominate for large chunks of the game and plenty of lessons would have been learned by that, particularly by the younger players. Victory are still one of the best sides in it on our day and that second-half fadeout might prove the reminder the boys need to get back on their game.

Fury are really struggling at the moment and last week’s 8-1 loss was a new low for a club which is set to know its future in the next few days. On their day, they are capable of free flowing and attacking football, but this young side is very much down on confidence.

Expect Melbourne’s experienced midfield to stamp themselves on this match, with Allsopp and Ricardinho given plenty of chances to score.

With the finals race so tight, this is a match Victory simply can-t afford not to win.

North Queensland Fury: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 4. Eric AKOTO, 5. Mark HUGHES, 6. Ufuk TALAY (c), 7. Gareth EDDS, 8. Adam CASEY 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 13. Andre KILIAN, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15.Chris PAYNE, 16. Simon STOREY, 17.Alex READ, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 19. Isaka CERNAK, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22. Lorenzo SIPI, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk)
*five to be omitted*

In: Adam CASEY (back from injury),Simon STOREY (back from injury), Gareth EDDS (back from injury), Alex READ (new signing), Chris PAYNE (promoted)
Out: Nil
Unavailable: Matthew HAM (knee – out for the season)

Melbourne Victory: 1. Michael PETKOVIC (gk), 3. Mate DUGANDZIC, 4. Petar FRANJIC, 7. Matthew KEMP, 8. Grant BREBNER, 9. RICARDINHO, 11. Marvin ANGULO, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 13. Diogo FERREIRA, 14. Billy CELESKI, 15. Tom PONDELJAK, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17. Matthew FOSCHINI, 18. Danny ALLSOPP, 19. Evan BERGER, 20. Sebastian MATTEI (gk), 23. Adrian LEIJER
*two to be omitted*

In: Evan BERGER (returns from injury), Adrian LEIJER (returns from injury), Petar FRANJIC (promoted)
Out: Kevin MUSCAT (suspended)
Unavailable: Leigh BROXHAM (calf), Archie THOMPSON (hamstring), Surat SUKHA (calf) Robbie KRUSE (International duty – 1 week)