Archie: Franjic ready

Archie Thompson has backed inexperienced Melbourne Victory defender Petar Franjic to step in and get the job done in Saturday's Melbourne derby in the absence of suspended skipper Adrian Leijer.

Archie Thompson has backed inexperienced Melbourne Victory defender Petar Franjic to step in and get the job done in Saturday's Melbourne derby in the absence of suspended skipper Adrian Leijer.

Franjic, 19, was given his chance after another skipper, Kevin Muscat, was suspended late last season and performed well in five Hyundai A-League starts as well as during the AFC Champions League campaign.

The Australian Under 20 representative is yet to see any game time this season, but will likely be given his chance in front of a huge crowd at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Thompson has no qualms that Franjic will be able to handle himself in such a big game and said the best way for a player like him to learn is on the big stage.

"As a young guy, these are the sort of games you want to come in and test yourself with. If he wants to do any good in the game, you want to be able to play well in front of a crowd like this in a game which as important as this," Thompson said.

"He's a good player and I'm sure he'll do well."

Thompson is impressed with the depth Victory have at both ends of the park, despite most of the attention being levelled at the embarrassment of attacking riches the club possesses.

"We had eleven v eleven at training today and you could play both teams in the A-League, it's that competitive and that is the sort of quality we have in our team," he said.

But he admits that as yet, the much vaunted attack - goalless in two games - is yet to produce and the pressure is on to start living up to their reputations against the Heart on Saturday.

"I think it's a matter of finding the right combination and at the moment we are chopping and changing. Once the goals start going in, it will start to flow for us," he said.

"Saturday's probably the best game to do that. We are all very excited about it. We've had some pretty tough games to start the season, with Sydney and Adelaide, and you know the rivalries we have with them. We have now got a big derby match and this will be a perfect occasions to kick start our season".

"When you look at our team on paper, it's an amazing team. It's just that we haven't put it together just yet on the pitch. I'm sure it will all start gelling soon, and Saturday is where we want it to happen."

He said the focus on Harry Kewell, while not surprising, has been a little unfair and that the champions qualities of the Qantas Socceroos are set to shine though as he adapts to his new surrounds.

"People have to understand that he has only played two or three games in the past couple of months. He's trying to find his feet and we are learning to work around him and how he plays. We haven't seen the best of Harry or Victory yet," he said.

While Victory will be missing Leijer, Melbourne Heart will be without arguably their most influential player on Saturday, with former Victory player Fred ruled out of his first Melbourne derby with a hamstring injury.