Coach turns to Carlos

Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic believes Carlos Hernandez's return to the starting line-up can be a catalyst for a turnaround in the club's form in the AFC Champions League.

Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic believes Carlos Hernandez's return to the starting line-up can be a catalyst for a turnaround in the club's form in the AFC Champions League.

Victory are pointless after two matches of the group stage having conceded a late winner to K-League outfit Jeju United on Tuesday night. It means Melbourne can not afford to drop points in the next match away to Tianjin Teda in China on April 5.

Durakovic sees Hernandez, who played 30 minutes in Tuesday's game, as crucial to a return to form in that match and predicted that having had an extra three weeks on the training track, the Costa Rican will be at full fitness.

"We'll work Carlos really hard on the pitch and, barring injuries, Carlos has a big part to play in this team," he said. "Carlos is coming back to his peak fitness and to be honest, when he came on, he performed really well. When he came on, he changed the game, his passing is phenomenal."

Hernandez threatened to turn the game in Melbourne's favour when he arrived, setting up several chances, the best of which fell to Archie Thompson, who pushed an effort millimetres wide of the post.

The Costa Rican has battled for fitness since picking up a calf injury late in the season, but having recovered from that, is starting to look in the sort of form which won him the Johnny Warren Medal in 2009-10.

Melbourne can also expect to have Robbie Kruse back after he sat out Tuesday's game with a hamstring injury. The youngster, who is bound for Germany in June, will get an early taste of the German experience when he takes his place in the Socceroos squad who will play Germany in Monchengladbach in two weeks' time.

He will return in time to travel to China with Melbourne.

Durakovic, who took over from Ernie Merrick only three days before the match, remains confident in his side's ability to progress from the group, despite a slow start.

"I'm really positive the next four games we'll go out there and give it all we've got and I can only ask for our guys to do our best," Durakovic said.

"We'll work on the pitch, we'll work on our fitness, we'll work on our sharpness and the structure that I want to play. They boys just have to be fit."