Brebner: Muscat return a boost

Melbourne Victory midfielder Grant Brebner has described the return of influential captain Kevin Muscat for Saturday's Derby showdown with Melbourne Heart as massive.

Melbourne Victory midfielder Grant Brebner has described the return of influential captain Kevin Muscat for Saturday's Derby showdown with Melbourne Heart as massive.

Muscat missed Victory's 1-1 draw against Sydney FC through suspension but will be one of the first names coach Ernie Merrick pens on the whiteboard for Derby III at Etihad Stadium.

"He's (Muscat) a massive in," Brebner said.

"There's no doubt he's obviously a big loss to the team when he's not there, both on and off the park."

"We realise how big a game this is going to be, it's a six-pointer for us to put a gap on them and good we've got him, but we've all got to take responsibility."

Brebner revealed that the captain may not be the only high-profile inclusion with marquee man Archie Thompson making a push towards being fit for the much-anticipated clash.

Thompson has been sidelined due to a hamstring injury suffered just after scoring in Victory-s 2-0 home win over Perth on December 18.

"Archie could be a surprise packet, I don't know (for sure)," Brebner said.

"He's locked away in the gym doing sessions, hopefully this week he'll get out and have a bit of a kick with us. If Archie's 90 per cent fit then that would be a huge plus for us, (but) let's wait and see what he can produce at the end of the week."

Adrian Leijer, who also missed the Sydney FC with a quad injury, is another working hard to be fit for the Derby according to the Scotsman.

"We're probably going to be touch and go with Ado, to get them (Leijer and Thompson) back in the squad will be great."

If Leijer doesn-t come up, Brebner says the Victory illustrated they have good depth after the impressive performances of young guns Petar Franjic, Matthew Foschini and Mate Dugandzic in Sydney.

"They were fantastic for us the other night," Brebner said.

"Pete especially in making his debut in such a big game, then Fishy (Foschini) coming on in the second-half. There's no doubt their performance in the second-half, and also Mate Dugandzic who came on were huge factors. The young boys played their part in Sydney."

Having split the two previous Derby clashes this season, Victory has extra incentive to take all three points from Saturday night, as a win would virtually extinguish their cross-town rivals finals chances.

"If you ask any player or coach, you want it (your own destiny) to be in your own hands - you don't want to be relying on other teams,” Brebner said.

"We're sitting in the position now where it is in our hands, there is enough points available not to just scrape into the finals, but cement our place."

"It's a Derby this week and we're desperate to win, but more than anything the three points are valuable."