Melbourne Victory have set their sights on blunting wily Western United striker Besart Berisha in Saturday night’s A-League derby.
The 35-year-old is yet to find the net in three appearances this season, but Victory need no reminding of their former talisman’s quality.
Berisha came back to haunt his old club when he scored a brace for United in the second of the three wins the expansion side registered against Victory in their debut season.
Former Premier League defender Ryan Shotton and youngster Dylan Ryan will be given the task of quelling Berisha’s influence as both clubs aim for a second win of the new season at AAMI Park.
“His work rate and presence in the penalty box is going to be something that we’re going to have to really monitor,” Victory coach Grant Brebner said of the A-League’s all-time leading scorer.
“We came up against two good strikers the other night in (Perth Glory’s) Andy Keogh and Bruno Fornaroli, and handled them reasonably well.
“Dylan and Ryan will come up against Bes, who won’t give them a minute’s rest, no doubt, for 90 minutes.
“In many ways it’s a good thing because we know that it’s going to be tough and they’ll need to be focused.”
Victory registered their first win of the season on Tuesday, courtesy of Jake Brimmer’s two late goals against Perth.
Socceroos attacker Robbie Kruse starred in his second appearance back from a long-term knee injury and will be on light duties this week in the hope he will be fit to start against United.
“You want Robbie Kruse in your starting 11 (because) he gives you a really good attacking outlet,” Brebner said.
“Robbie can only get better and fitter from here and I think we saw the quality that Robbie has.
“Robbie knows that I’m a huge believer in him and he’s got my full backing to go out and perform the way that he can.
“I’m not going to hold him back; he can go out and do his thing and entertain the fans.
“If he’s doing that, he’ll enjoy his football.”
Former Premier League duo Rudy Gestede (hamstring) and Callum McManaman (ankle) are still sidelined for Victory and will miss the derby.