Experienced duo Ryan Shotton and Robbie Kruse are available as Grant Brebner weighs up how best to utilise a full-strength Melbourne Victory squad for Saturday’s A-League clash with Adelaide United.
Victory were left reeling from a season-opening home defeat to Brisbane Roar and have had almost three weeks to stew on the 3-1 result.
The coronavirus-impacted season fixture now has them scheduled to face Adelaide away and Perth Glory (home) in the space of four days.
But Brebner finally has his entire squad at his disposal, with English centre-back Shotton getting the required fitness at training since exiting quarantine early this month.
Socceroos winger Kruse has overcome a knee injury and has featured twice in practice matches against NPL opposition since missing the Brisbane defeat.
New Zealand international Marco Rojas is fit after a hamstring problem.
“We have a full squad to choose from, so no excuses,” Brebner said on Thursday.
“The boys have responded well and we’ve managed to get a couple of (practice) games, which has been good for us.
“We’ve had a little bit of a longer dwell on the (Brisbane) result, which wasn’t great, but we’re fully looking forward to this weekend.”
Former English Premier League striker Rudy Gestede appears ready for his first A-League start after his Victory debut as a second-half substitute against Brisbane.
Gestede scored twice in one of the recent practice matches and should add much-needed firepower to a Victory line-up that is seeking a reliable replacement for departed top-scorer Ola Toivonen.
“Rudy managed to score a couple of goals the other night, which is great for him, great for his confidence and great for the team,” Brebner said.
“Like I said to him, I brought him here to score goals and that’s what he needs to do.
“He needs to demand that from people around him, that he’s getting service.
“We’re looking forward to seeing Rudy score hopefully a few more.”
Rojas was substituted in the Brisbane game with 20 minutes left but has overcome his hamstring issue.
“Marco’s completed every test that we’ve asked him to do,” Brebner said.
“It was just a slight injury that he had.
“If anything, the break’s been good for us to get some players back and some match fitness into the legs.”