Muscat wants fresh blood for titles push
Exciting teenage attacker Rahmat Akbari could be unleashed for his first Melbourne Victory start against his former club Brisbane Roar on Tuesday night, just months after his shock defection.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat pinched Akbari, 18, from Brisbane on the eve of the A-League season, and the January fixture cluster provides him the perfect chance to be thrown in from the start.
The Afghani-born Australian youth international made six senior appearances for Roar last season and has already notched seven substitute appearances at Victory.
Off the back of signing state league star Elvis Kamsoba, Victory could dip into the transfer market once again with defender James Donachie a chance to return from Korea, just six months after leaving Victory.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat is keen to bolster his injury-hit squad, while also having an eye on the Asian Champions League, which kicks off in March.
Donachie, 25, is believed to be considering a return to Victory, despite making 14 appearances with Jeonnam Dragons, the last being December 1.
The ever-reliable Leigh Broxham has been superb filling in at stopper alongside Thomas Deng, in the absence of Georg Niedermeier and Nick Ansell.
Ansell (hamstring) is still a week away from returning, while Niedermeier (ankle) is minimum a fortnight away and Jai Ingham (quad) slightly longer.
The extra bodies will be vital with Muscat keen to launch a full-blown assault on the Asian Champions League, amid the heightened focus with one of the continent's biggest stars, Keisuke Honda, in the squad.
Victory has been unable to replicate its stunning early-season form when Honda was part of a diamond-shaped and studded midfield, alongside in-form duo Terry Antonis and James Troisi.
But the Victory players have toiled hard, en route to securing two wins and two draws in the five games without Honda, which has also coincided with the absence of Niedermeier while Spanish midfielder Raul Baena has only made late appearances off the bench.
Muscat was relishing the challenge this month presented, with Tuesday night's Suncorp Stadium clash Victory's third game in seven days.
"We're definitely enjoying it, the players have been working hard. This is a really good opportunity to repeat Saturday's (Newcastle Jets) performance, away from home,'' Muscat said.
Victory were in recovery mode prior to departing for Brisbane on Monday, with Muscat and the medical team set to assess the players before deciding on how many changes.
Brisbane are led by interim boss, long-time Victory youth coach and assistant Darren Davies, who's overseen improved performances but failed to translate that into results with Roar rooted to second-last spot.
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