Melbourne Victory’s recruits Rudy Gestede and Callum McManaman are sidelined through injury but coach Grant Brebner has backed his attacking depth to deliver an A-League breakthrough against Perth Glory.
Victory are the only team in the league yet to register a point and will have to take on Perth on Tuesday night without overseas stars Gestede (hamstring) and McManaman (ankle), who were injured in Saturday night’s loss to Adelaide United.
Gestede’s injury wasn’t as severe as initially thought, but both he and McManaman are expected to miss “a couple of weeks”, while young striker Ben Folami (knee) remains sidelined.
The injuries will force a reshuffle to fit Victory’s smaller, faster available personnel, including Marco Rojas, Elvis Kamsoba and Robbie Kruse – who will be in the mix to start after impressing off the bench in Adelaide.
“It’s not great that we don’t have those two players because they are big players for us to win us games,” Brebner told reporters.
“But we look forward and we’re still positive that there’s players at this football club that can score goals.
“It will change the dynamics and it will change the structure a little bit, but it won’t change really how we want to play.”
Victory’s greater concern arguably comes up the other end of the park.
Perth’s free-flowing and star-studded attack – led by Bruno Fornaroli – have scored nine goals across the Glory’s opening two games
Olyroos centre-back Dylan Ryan was turned inside-out by Adelaide’s 16-year-old sensation Mohamed Toure but Brebner backed the 20-year-old and English import Ryan Shotton to bounce back.
“Playing against any top players in this league is a challenge and … obviously Dylan wants to be a top footballer – and he will be a top footballer – and he needs to come up against players like this,” Brebner said.
“His sole focus will be stropping Bruno and Andy Keogh and ‘Shotts’ will be there alongside him helping him.”
Brebner said there was no time to waste in getting points on the board.
“It’s immediately urgent – of course we want to get wins,” Brebner said.
“I’m not going to stand here and say that we can wait five, six games for our team to gel.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* Victory are undefeated in their past four games against Perth (W3, D1)
* Perth have scored four goals in the 15-minute period after halftime this season – no other team has scored more than one
* Victory’s Marco Rojas has scored three goals and created four scoring chances in his past three games against Perth, including a brace in his last game.