Melbourne Victory duo sidelined

Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak has been ruled out of this Saturday's match against Gold Coast United with a back injury, while Nick Ward is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks with a staphylococcus infection.

Melbourne Victory midfielder Tom Pondeljak has been ruled out of this Saturday's match against Gold Coast United with a back injury, while Nick Ward is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks with a staphylococcus infection.

Ward was admitted to hospital earlier this week and is currently undergoing treatment, while Pondeljak has been officially sidelined after injuring his back, but is hopeful of returning for Melbourne Victory's match against Brisbane Roar on Saturday, October 3.

Youngsters Evan Berger, Matthew Foschini and Mate Dugandzic have all been promoted for Melbourne Victory's first ever match against league newcomer Gold Coast, with one to be omitted before kick off at Skilled Park.

"Nick Ward has been diagnosed with a staphylococcus infection, which is a serious infection that will effectively rule him out of action for a minimum of three weeks," Melbourne Victory Coach Ernie Merrick said prior to the team's departure for Queensland.

"Nick's onset was very sudden and at this stage is still a bit of a mystery, but our doctors will continue to monitor him and will meet with an infectious diseases specialist next week to gain additional information on treatment, recovery and his return.

"Tommy injured his back during training on Tuesday, so we've promoted three youngsters in Evan Berger, Matthew Foschini and Mate Dugandzic, with one to be omitted."

Merrick also confirmed recent signing Robbie Kruse has been declared fit to play in his home state.

"Robbie was managing a slight groin strain, but he'll be right for Saturday's match."