Melbourne Victory Head Coach, Jeff Hopkins, has praised the squad for showing resilience and attacking depth ahead of this weekend’s visit to Westfield W-League leaders, Sydney FC.
Victory will be aiming to strengthen its bid for a place in the Finals Series by building on the squad’s unbeaten run of six games.
“It’s a very tight league this year and we’re aware of what’s at stake – whether we win or whether we don’t,” Hopkins said.
“We’re still not guaranteed a Finals place, so we understand how important this game is.”
With two games of the regular season remaining, Victory could go within a point of Sydney FC with a win at Jubilee Stadium.
“It isn’t make-or-break for us this weekend but it is a game for us to see how we can play and how we can work against what I see as the best in the league,” said the Head Coach.
Victory winger, Catherine Zimmerman, is nearing her return to action after missing the club’s last two fixtures.
“We’ll see how Zimmerman is,” said Hopkins. “We didn’t take her to Perth because we knew she wouldn’t be able to make two games, but we’re hoping she will be alright for Saturday.”
In the absence of the American forward, the Head Coach has highlighted the squad’s ability to adapt.
“We’ve shuffled the deck a little bit and we’ve got good quality cover. I think Mindy Barbieri and Kyra Cooney-Cross have done a good job over the past few games.
“If they have to do it again, I’m 100% confident in their ability as well as Zimmerman’s,” said Hopkins.
Victory travels to New South Wales off the back of Tuesday night’s 1-0 win in Perth, a performance which pleased the Head Coach.
Annalie Longo’s second-half strike sealed the three points for Melbourne at Dorrien Gardens.
“For us to get the goal, which was a top-quality one, and then we were reasonably comfortable in the way we did things after we scored,” said Hopkins.
“We’re getting better and better at defending a one-nil lead. Hopefully, coming into Finals that will be really good for us.”