Muscat: A win is more important

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat is determined to ensure his 500-game milestone is not a distraction for his team when it hosts Sydney in Saturday night's much anticipated top-of-the-table showdown at Etihad Stadium.

Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat is determined to ensure his 500-game milestone is not a distraction for his team when it hosts Sydney in Saturday night's much anticipated top-of-the-table showdown at Etihad Stadium.

Muscat said the chance to open up a six-point lead over Sydney at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder was far more important to him than celebrating the fact he will become only the second Australian player after Alex Tobin to reach 500 career games.

"In Australia milestones get recognised a bit and made a fuss off but to be honest if you need extra motivation to win a football game something has got to be wrong," he said on Thursday.

"If you are putting in more this week because of a milestone then you have done yourself an injustice the week before to your team-mates so in all honesty it (his 500 game-milestone) can't be an extra motivation in my eyes."

Victory coach Ernie Merrick agreed with his skipper.

"We don't approach games that way," he said when asked if he would use Muscat's special milestone as motivation for his players on Saturday night.

"It is very important to Kevin and everyone but we are about improving as a team and playing our best every week no matter what the milestones are."

Muscat says he is more concerned about avenging Melbourne's humiliating 3-0 loss to Sydney earlier in the season at Etihad Stadium than worrying about marking his milestone game in style on Saturday night.

"It's first against second and we have been the fiercest rivals since day one," he said.

"They (Sydney) have got themselves in a decent position this year but our underlying goal at the start of the season was to be the first team to have a crack at going back to back and we find ourselves in a position to be able to give that a tilt now so this weekend comes at a perfect time for us."

"We can go six points clear and give the rest of the competition a massive indication that we are serious about winning the flag."

Victory welcomes back Nick Ward from suspension but lose Surat Sukha to a hamstring injury although Merrick said on Thursday that Ward had taken a knock on the calf in training, which could make him a doubtful starter on Saturday night.

And while midfield playmaker Carlos Hernandez is also batting an ankle injury, Merrick is confident the Costa Rican star will play in Saturday night's huge clash - which is expected to draw a crowd of more than 35,000 to Etihad Stadium.