Angulo set for start

Marvin Angulo is likely to get his first start for the season against Newcastle on Saturday, with Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick nominating the Costa Rican as the probable replacement for the injured Grant Brebner.

Marvin Angulo is likely to get his first start for the season against Newcastle on Saturday, with Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick nominating the Costa Rican as the probable replacement for the injured Grant Brebner.

Brebner had x-rays on his foot on Thursday which revealed he has two broken toes, ruling him out of the trip to Newcastle. The Scottish-born midfielder has been one of the Victory's most consistent players over the first two months of the season, but Merrick is confident they can cover for his absence.

"I think it's an opportunity to give other boys a run because our midfield has got good depth. That's why Nick Ward decided to move on, because he wanted a game every week and our midfield's a tough place to do that," Merrick said.

"Maybe Marvin will come straight in, which seems the obvious switch for Brebs in the midfield."

Angulo has played just 65 minutes this season, making only a handful of substitutes' appearances over the first eight games. A first start of the season would be an early birthday present for the midfielder, who turns 24 next Thursday.

Brebner is set to spend at least a couple of weeks on the sidelines and is highly likely to miss the upcoming Melbourne derby on October 2. But Merrick is confident that he will be back on the field in a reasonably short time frame.

"The good thing about having that type of injury is that they're not weight-bearing. Normally with broken bones, it's five or six weeks, but there is a possibility he can come up much quicker than that. I'm hopeful he won't be out of it for too long," he said.

Without Brebner and Kevin Muscat, Melbourne are short two of their most experienced players. But the coach has every confidence in the on-field leadership that remains in the team.

"Rody (Vargas) and Adrian (Leijer) have done well in two games without Kevin and we've kept two clean sheets. (Leijer) has really come of age as a leader and captain. His pre-match talks are first class. We've got Tom Pondeljak who has played in seven Grand Finals, Carlos Hernandez and Surat Sukha. We've got quality across the field," he said.

Robbie Kruse will get his chance to prove he is over his calf strain in the final training session in Newcastle on Friday.

Merrick said Kruse was likely to start if fit, but is unlikely to be able to play a full 90 minutes.