Melbourne Victory Head Coach Grant Brebner has provided a squad update and laid out his expectations ahead of the resumption of the AFC Champions League.
Victory travels to Qatar on Thursday night and faces the challenge of playing four games in ten days, starting with Beijing FC on November 24.
As the squad prepares to take flight, Brebner is hoping the training ground routines and new signings will begin to harmonise in Doha.
“We want to to use this competition to start gelling on and off the park and we want to make sure our structures are starting to come into fruition,” said Brebner.
“We come up against a Chinese powerhouse in our first two games and it is going to be tough.”
With restrictions in Melbourne limiting Victory’s ability to play friendly matches, Brebner plans to use the Champions League as competitive preparation for the upcoming A-League season.
“It will be a fantastic opportunity to play a pre-season in a competition that means something and get as much as we can out of it,” Brebner said.
Brebner’s squad will be strengthened by the arrival of Dylan Ryan and Ben Folami in Qatar, while Jacob Butterfield recently finished his quarantine period.
“We have had to recruit and bring in players in a short space of time. Some players haven’t yet joined the group and will meet us directly in Doha, which isn't ideal,” admitted the Scotsman.
Including the two loan signings, seven players have been recruited by Victory this pre-season and Brebner is hoping to add to those numbers by the start of the A-League.
“I am looking to bring in a central defender and a striker,” he said. “If and when we sign our two remaining players, they will come straight to Australia to start their quarantine as quickly as possible.”
With regards to the return of Robbie Kruse, Brebner had the latest update.
“He has returned ahead of schedule,” he confirmed. “We can’t push him until we get the green light from his surgeon, in terms of how quickly we can go.”
Kruse is yet to play under Brebner as Head Coach, after the winger suffered a knee injury days before the restart of the 2019/20 A-League season.
“He will be like another new signing for me, but he won’t be going to Qatar. It doesn’t make sense taking him over there, in terms of what we are under and quarantine.”