Ernie will attack

A draw against Sydney may be enough for Melbourne to secure back-to-back Premiers' Plates but coach Ernie Merrick will ask his players to stick with their attacking style in Sunday's blockbuster at the SFS.

A draw against Sydney may be enough for Melbourne to secure back-to-back Premiers' Plates but coach Ernie Merrick will ask his players to stick with their attacking style in Sunday's blockbuster at the SFS.

Melbourne has top spot in its own hands and needs only a point to ensure its qualification for the Asian Champions League 2011. But Merrick is adamant that his side will play the style of football that has served it well all season and will look to win the match.

"I think it comes down to how we play our brand of football and knowing a draw will do us, it means nothing to us. After 26 rounds of playing attacking football, you are not going to change it for one game," he said.

"We'll play our normal style. We-ve got an incredible difference because of that. It's worked for us every year, we intend to do it again."

Matches between the two teams have generally not produced a lot of goals, with four 0-0 draws and two 1-0 results in the past ten head-to-head encounters. But with Melbourne set to take an attacking attitude into the match and Sydney needing to win to take top spot from Victory, Merrick believes it will be a thoroughly entertaining encounter.

"I think because they are out to score goal, and we will be out to score goals, I think the crowd can look forward to an end to end open entertaining clash of football. It's a terrific stadium, Sydney Football Stadium, with I hope we have a massive crowd," he said.

"I know they defend well. We know they can break quickly and although they haven't scored a lot of goals compared with teams in the top six that they don-t give away many goals. Largely once again, our focus is on how we go about playing out style of play."

Merrick said he is keen to start Nik Mrdja in Sunday's match after he made his debut off the bench against North Queensland last week. While Robbie Kruse looked troubled by a thigh injury at training on Friday, Merrick is confident he will play, meaning Melbourne may opt for two strikers.

"I'm pretty keen on Mrdja starting because he did really well with us. I'm not looking at too many changes at all," he said.

The only other possible change will come in defence with Matthew Kemp out with a long-term injury. Evan Berger looks the natural replacement but Merrick said he is happy with Surat Sukha's progress from a hamstring injury and the Thai international is under consideration.