Leijer: We can cover Muscat

Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer is confident the senior players can fill the void of inspirational skipper Kevin Muscat in Saturday night's blockbuster against arch rivals Sydney FC.

Melbourne Victory defender Adrian Leijer is confident the senior players can fill the void of inspirational skipper Kevin Muscat in Saturday night's blockbuster against arch rivals Sydney FC.

Muscat received the mandatory one-match suspension after he was sent off in last week's loss to Adelaide for two bookable offences.

Leijer, who will wear the captain's armband in Muscat's absence, admitted it's hard to replace someone of Muscat's quality and said that everyone needs to stand up.

"Muscy is an unbelievable leader, you probably struggle to find anyone close to him in Australia, that's our highly I regard him," Leijer said on Wednesday morning.

"Obviously that's some big shoes to fill, but I think we've got a lot of senior players in our squad and we've got a very experienced squad and I think when guys like Muscy are out the rest of us have to stand up and that's up to us to do that on the weekend."

After a four-match winning run, Victory are coming off two consecutive losses, but a win this weekend will solidify their position in the top six and all but end Sydney's hopes of sneaking into the finals.

Despite the Sky Blues' struggles this season, Leijer knows his side will have to be at their best in the latest chapter of the arguably the biggest rivalry in the Hyundai A-League.

"Melbourne-Sydney games are always big no matter where they are on the table or where we are, it doesn't make much difference at all so we're going to have to be ready for it and we are ready for it and I'm sure that we'll come out on the weekend and put in a good performance," Leijer said.

Danny Allsopp will again the lead the frontline on Saturday night desperate to find the back of the net after a couple of lean performances since returning the club from America.

Leijer, who himself returned to Melbourne in 2009 after a stint in England, could sympathise with the striker and backed him to get back to his best.

"It is tough and I know exactly what it's like, coming back from overseas it's kind of a strange feeling and I know exactly what Danny's going through," Leijer said.

"It's the first few games where you're not really sure where your home is and what's going on. Danny did well for on the weekend but he's got a lot of improving in him and he'll get a lot more match fit and used to playing our style again."

Meanwhile, Archie Thompson is progressing well from his hamstring injury with his likely return to come against North Queensland on January 26, although he is pushing to be fit for next week's third installment of the Melbourne derby.

"Archie's good, he was running around out there somewhere," Leijer said.

"He's in good spirits I think they said maybe a fortnight, but I'm not sure. He's looking good, he's doing some running and we're looking forward to having him back."

Tom Pondeljak is expected to replace Muscat in Victory's squad for the Sydney match, while Matthew Kemp and Surat Sukha are still unavailable through injury.