Kruse tipped to start

Melbourne Victory is preparing to welcome back Qantas Socceroos striker Robbie Kruse for Wednesday night's Hyundai A-League clash against Newcastle at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Victory is preparing to welcome back Qantas Socceroos striker Robbie Kruse for Wednesday night's Hyundai A-League clash against Newcastle at Etihad Stadium.

Kruse touched down from Qatar on Tuesday morning and provided he is physically okay after the flight, he will play according to coach Ernie Merrick.

"He'll be in the starting 11 should he pull up all right, I think he'll be ready to go and ready from the start," Merrick said.

"Robbie had some great experience with the Socceroos, I thought he did really well when he came on against Japan, he got a good run 35-40 minutes, almost scored. I'm sure he'll tell us about that and his goal in the previous game against Uzbekistan."

A win over the Jets would seal fifth-placed Victory a playoff berth and while Kruse's return is certainly timely, they will be without Grant Brebner and Carlos Hernandez.

Industrious Scottish midfielder Brebner has a problem with his calf and Costa Rican star Hernandez came off at half-time in Victory's 2-0 win over Gold Coast on Sunday carrying a groin injury.

Marvin Angulo is the man handed the chance to replace Brebner with Merrick confident his other Costa Rican can fill the role.

"Marvin's a very creative player - if anything we're going to be more attacking with him, Mate (Dugandzic), Tommy Pondeljak - we're taking out a midfielder and bringing in another striker," Merrick said.

In other squad news, emerging prospect Luke Pilkington has been named on the bench, becoming another member of Victory's generation next alongside Petar Franjic, Diogo Ferreira, Mate Dugandzic and Matthew Foschini.

Like Victory, the Jets are chasing a finals berth and come to Melbourne after losing 1-0 to another playoff contender Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand on Sunday, with Merrick expecting a tough contest.

"They'll be down here to play for a win which is good for us, if teams play attacking football then it suits us," Merrick said.

"They are a good team, they've got some good players and will be really keen to get in the finals. We have to make sure we have respect for them and play good football."

Kick-off for the clash is at 7pm.