Injured Athiu to miss Newcastle trip

Kevin Muscat looks set to shuffle his forward line for Saturday's trip to Newcastle after Kenny Athiu was ruled out of the travelling squad.

Athiu was forced from the field with a hamstring injury in the Round 2 clash with Perth Glory at AAMI Park.

“Kenny will be 4-5 weeks with a hamstring, so it’s not ideal but it does present an opportunity," Muscat said.

Jai Ingham, who replaced Athiu on Sunday, looks set to be drafted into the team to partner Kosta Barbarouses up front, while Muscat also indicated that James Troisi will have an increased role to play in attack. 

“[Their speed] gives us a different dimension, so that might affect how we set up to utilise that.

“Jai, Kosta and Jimmy have been playing in that front third of the park, so we have some options there.

“Jimmy Troisi has license, he’s been in the box quite a bit… he’s a player we want to get in the opposition box and who we want to get on the end of chances.”

Meanwhile, Ola Toivonen continues to make progress on the road to recovery.

“He’s out on the grass running, but I don’t feel we’ve got enough into him to put him in the squad," Muscat said.

“[His calf issue] has cleared up now, but it’s a matter of getting strength and fitness into him. If it takes another week, it takes a week. If it’s 10 days, it’s 10 days.”

Muscat said he has been impressed by his side’s effort in the final third so far this season and believes the work has been done to ensure chances continue coming their way.

“In relation to going forward the amount of time we’ve spent in the attacking third has been really impressive.

“[We need] a little more steel – to be a little more ruthless in both boxes. We have to be of that mindset.

“We’ve been rewarded with some goals, but we’ve also been rewarded with some very good opportunities. We’ve worked on and analysed that this week to maintain it.”

Melbourne Victory play Newcastle Jets this Saturday night. Kick-off at 7:50pm, with the match broadcast live on Fox Sports and 10 Boss.