With five players away on international duty, Melbourne Victory has named four youth team players in an extended squad for Friday’s clash with Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.
Kieran Dover, Thomas Deng, George Howard and Joey Katebian all trained with the senior team this week and could feature on Friday as the race for top spot heats up.
Deng, who celebrated his 18th birthday last week, is an athletic defender and captain of Melbourne Victory's NPL 1 side, coached by Darren Davies.
"Thomas is a right-back/central defender who had a fantastic NYL season," Davies said.
"He's one of the younger members of the NYL and did particularly well, and he's the current captain of our NPL squad, who have got off to a decent start.”
"Kieran came on very briefly at the end, so it was great for him to get his debut," Davies said.
"He plays as a No.10 and is very good at getting in between the lines.
"He has a good engine and looks to get in the box and score goals and he had a good NYL too."
English-born Howard, 18, started as an academy player at Sheffield United before moving to Australia with his family when his father recieved a job offer in Melbourne several years ago.
"George had a very good NYL season and scored a lot of goals," Davies said.
"He’s a big, tall, quick, attacking wide player or No.9 who has been with us for two years now."
Katebian, 19, has scored three goals in his past two NPL 1 appearances, including a superb free kick in Melbourne Victory's win over Springvale White Eagles earlier this month.
"Joey has performed very well, particularly during the during the start of the NPL campaign with three goals in his past two games," Davies said.
"He's a traditional No.9 but he has been known to play wide as well."
Stefan Nigro, 18, also trained with the senior team this week and continues to impress.
"Stefan's a central midfielder who has come on in leaps and bounds over the past three months,” Davies said.
“He can also play as a defensive midfielder and he's very good at breaking up the play and starting our attacks."
Tickets for Melbourne Victory's game against Central Coast Mariners on Friday are available by clicking here.
Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
Friday, March 27, 7.40pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 7.30pm AEDT and SBS HD and SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT
Radio: 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio VIC, Grandstand Digital
Melbourne Victory squad (two to be omitted): 1.Nathan COE (gk), 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Leigh BROXHAM (c), 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 13. Andrew NABBOUT, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 17.Matthieu DELPIERRE, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (gk), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 31.Kieran DOVER, 34.Thomas DENG, 35.George HOWARD, 36.Joey KATEBIAN
Ins: 13.Andrew NABBOUT (promoted), 18.Dylan MURNANE (promoted), 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted), 31.Kieran DOVER (promoted), 34.Thomas DENG (promoted), 35.George HOWARD (promoted), 36.Joey KATEBIAN (promoted)
Outs: 2.Jason GERIA (international duty), 5.Mark MILLIGAN (international duty), 11.Connor PAIN (international duty), 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (international duty), 24.Scott GALLOWAY (international duty)
Unavailable: 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES (injured)