Victory aim to avoid A-League hangover

Shayne HopeAAP
Victory coach Grant Brebner says he'll try to come up with a plan to stifle Western United.
Camera IconVictory coach Grant Brebner says he'll try to come up with a plan to stifle Western United.

Melbourne Victory will again rely on inexperienced defenders as they attempt to avoid an A-League "hangover" in the derby clash with Besart Berisha's Western United.

English target man Rudy Gestede scored a brace as Grant Brebner's side broke through for a much-needed second win of the season against fellow battlers Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday.

But injuries to winger Marco Rojas (ankle) and defensive duo Dylan Ryan (knee) and Ryan Shotton (groin) put a dampener on the result.

Rojas has been named in the squad for Saturday night's all-Victorian affair, however, the absence of the two centre-backs at Marvel Stadium will force Brebner into another defensive shuffle.

Youngsters Dalibor Markovic, Zaydan Bello and Aaron Anderson are all in the squad, with Storm Roux recalled and veteran Leigh Broxham capable of switching roles if required.

It comes as Brebner plots a way to quell the influence of Western United's dangerous attacking trio - Iker Guarrotxena, Alessandro Diamanti and former Victory hero Berisha.

"It's unfortunate that we've picked up the injuries we have ... but we've got some youngsters that came in and did really well for us the other night," Brebner said.

"They're three young lads that have come through our academy, which is great.

"We're going to come up against a really experienced front three, so we'll come up with a formula that will best suit us and hopefully stifle them."

Victory released a pressure valve with the win over Wellington, which came 48 hours after the club was rocked off-field by the departure of foundation shareholder and board member Richard Wilson.

It sparked a war of words between Wilson and the club, which released a statement welcoming the former managing director's exit.

Emotional players celebrated Gestede's goals with Brebner and came together in a huddle on the pitch after the full-time whistle.

"We've spoken a lot about the game the other night and what it meant to the group," Brebner said.

"We don't want to just get up for that game and then have a hangover after it, we want to keep that momentum going.

"It's important that we continue that vein of form and come away with three points again."

Victory and Western United played out a scoreless draw in their previous meeting this season.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Western United have never lost to Melbourne Victory, with three wins and a draw in their four previous meetings.

* Besart Berisha has scored 16 goals at Marvel Stadium. Only Archie Thompson (35) and Carlos Hernandez (18) have scored more at the venue.

* Melbourne Victory are aiming for consecutive wins for the first time since January 2020 after beating Wellington on Wednesday.

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