Crucial period coming up

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has described the next six matches as a very important stretch for the team as it bids to make its second Hyundai A-League finals appearance in three seasons.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has described the next six matches as a very important stretch for the team as it bids to make its second Hyundai A-League finals appearance in three seasons.

Melbourne currently sits third on the ladder and just one point adrift of league leader Adelaide United.

But after a lean patch which has seen the Victory unable to collect any points from the past three outings, Merrick knows that will have to change as the business end of the campaign approaches - starting with arch enemy Sydney FC at Telstra Dome on Saturday night.

"We've go to produce consistent performances and get points on the board in the next six (games)," he said at the team's Friday morning training session at the Docklands stadium.

"The great thing is we're back at the Telstra Dome and really looking forward to play in front of a home crowd."

Although Melbourne has lost its past three games, Merrick has found positives from the team's attacking performance in those matches.

"We create a lot of chances, last week (against Newcastle) we scored in the eighth minute and then it was ruled offside and then in the 15th minute they scored against the run of play and they controlled the next 12, 15 minutes," he said.

"The last 15, 20 minutes we actually dominated again with lots of chances."

However it's Melbourne's concession of nine goals in the past three outings which has prompted Merrick to recall Sebastian Ryall to the squad that will take on Sydney this weekend in a match that could shape the top four.

"Sebastian has really impressed in the youth team so there's a chance he'll start," he said without giving away who would make way for the 19-year-old.

"As a defender who's been quite outstanding with the youth team ... it's pretty ideal to be able to bring a player like that in."

Merrick said that the squad was now close to full fitness bar question marks over Evan Berger and Steve Pantelidis.

However he wasn't prepared to rule out Berger from the blockbuster clash with Sydney.

"He had to come off at half-time (against Newcastle), he's feeling really good today," he said.

"I'll wait until after this session and see how he pulls up later."