Fresh Victory bouncing off break

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick believes the week off has come at the right time for his club and that Victory is fresh, fit and firing for what looms as a hectic next two months.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick believes the week off has come at the right time for his club and that Victory is fresh, fit and firing for what looms as a hectic next two months.

Melbourne heads to Newcastle this week and then plays three home games in ten days. January is completed with a trip to the Gold Coast, ending a run of five matches in 19 days.

So it's just as well Melbourne has had time to freshen up over the New Year's break, with several players ending 2009 with injuries and niggles after the 1-0 loss to North Queensland.

"I think is one of those situations where it's worked for us. Two away games in a row it's good to have a break in between the travelling," Merrick said

"We have been focusing on what we have to focus on at training. Getting some volume into the boys, knowing that at the end of this month we have to play three games in seven days in the league."

This busy period will be a good warm-up for what shapes as difficult schedule over the A-League finals series in March.

While Melbourne is in a good position to defend its Hyundai A-League championship, it will have to juggle Asian Champions League commitments with a match in Beijing on February 23, at home to Seongnam on March 9 and then a match in Japan on March 23, just three days after the Hyundai A-League Grand Final should Melbourne make it that far.

So it's little wonder Merrick and his men have enjoyed some time to work on their fitness since the defeat in Townsville.

"Even although we lost the last game and were pretty unhappy with our performance, it's given a couple of boys a chance to recover from injury. (Grant Brebner) has got more training into him, Leigh Broxham is back from suspension, Carlos (Hernandez) is ready to go and the other bonus is that Marvin Angulo has been registered," he said.

"To freshen up the boys to know we've got a new player coming in, I think the break's worked in our favour."

While the upcoming three home games against Perth, Adelaide and Wellington present Victory with an excellent opportunity to build some momentum, Merrick doesn't want his players to alter the way they go about things.

"It's good to know that we've got three games at home. What's important is playing good football and winning games. So you can't take for granted in this league that any game's a given. It always comes back to playing our best football," he said.

"There's 21 points still up for grabs, Seven games. So you can't take anything for granted in this league. Our aim is to finish in the top two so we have the double chance, and that hasn't changed. But again, it's about picking up three points week in, week out and not becoming complacent or dropping your guard."