Changes won't change approach

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is adamant his team will not change its attacking approach away to Gold Coast this Saturday, despite taking on the ladder leaders without one of the goalscorers from last week in Nick Ward.


Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is adamant his team will not change its attacking approach away to Gold Coast this Saturday, despite taking on the ladder leaders without one of the goalscorers from last week in Nick Ward.

Ward has been in hospital this week with an infection and will not make the trip north, while Merrick confirmed both Tom Pondeljak and Robbie Kruse are is some doubt with back and groin problems respectively.

However, Melbourne's attacking approach, which served it so well in the 2-0 win over Adelaide last week, will remain as Victory looks to become the first team to defeat Gold Coast on its home turf. Merrick said it was important for Melbourne to focus on what his team can achieve and not concern itself with Gold Coast's strengths.

"I think you've got to focus on your own strengths, as soon as you start looking at their strength and changing your game plan to suit the opposition and what dangers they might possess. When you overdo that, you are not playing your own game any more," he said.

Merrick said that there were no concerns over Archie Thompson's fitness, despite the striker having a light session on Thursday, but that Ward was definitely out and Pondeljak and Kruse were in some doubt.

"We're not sure about Tommy yet, he's got a back injury," Merrick said. "Wardy will definitely be out, he's has an infection and it's bad enough for him to be in hospital for a couple of days. He's currently in the hospital having a couple of tests."

"Archie was just a light session, he'll be fine. Robbie Kruse has a bit of a groin strain, we're not sure about him," Merrick said. "We won't put anyone in the situation where they are going to make the injury worse. We will tread carefully,"

Evan Berger is one of three players included into the squad, with two to be omitted on match day. Merrick said Berger had recovered better than expected from a hernia operation and would probably come onto the bench.

"He's training so well. We wanted him to have more game tine, but this might be the time to stick him on the bench as well," he said.

Merrick said that Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg, who is without star striker Shane Smeltz as well as several other key players for this match, knows as well as he does that depth is the most crucial element of any team and that at some stage it needed to be tested.

"You start the season with your squad and it's how you cope with injuries and suspensions and people working you out. They burst onto the scene, they have been really good for the competition I think," Merrick said of the new team.

Meanwhile, Victory's newest signing Marvin Angulo will arrive later next week and the club is currently working through the necessary paperwork to get the Costa Rican cleared to play

"It's all in the hands of Gary Cole and it's to do with getting visas," Merrick said. "We're pretty excited about him. I don't know if you've seen him, he's on youtube scoring goals. He's a dynamic young, up and coming player. Paulo Wanchope, who's the best known Costa Rican player, rates him very highly. I spoke to him as well."

"He's similar to the style of Archie and Tommy, He's very quick, good dribbler, he scores goals, but he creates as well. He's an exciting player for us to sign. I just don't know when he'll be available, probably 2-3 weeks I guess."