Muscat to lead Victory

Adrian Leijer has given Kevin Muscat the honour of leading Melbourne Victory in his final appearance on home soil.

Adrian Leijer has given Kevin Muscat the honour of leading Melbourne Victory in his final appearance on home soil.

The former Socceroo defender will don the captain's armband when Victory hosts Japanese powerhouse Gamba Osaka in a must-win AFC Champions League clash at Docklands on Wednesday night.

Leijer explained the decision to step aside was an easy one to make considering Muscat's contribution at Victory.

"Kev's been our leader from day one," Leijer said on Monday.

"What he's done for football in this country and Melbourne Victory has been second to none."

"It's his last game in Melbourne, it would be nice for him to lead the team out with his kids in front of his family in his home town and get the respect he deserves."

"It's the right thing to do for Musky and he deserves it."

Muscat has played a major role in Leijer's development from emerging teenager in Victory's debut season to leader for the club's ACL campaign.

It has been a rollercoaster-like campaign, starting with a 5-1 thumping by Gamba and the departure of coach Ernie Merrick.

Next was the home loss to Jeju United before fortunes improved under interim coach Mehmet Durakovic with an away draw and home victory over Chinese outfit Tianjin Teda.

But Victory's hopes of progressing past the group stage rest with beating a team that comprehensively dismantled them in Japan.

"Since the Gamba game there's been a lot of changes and we've got to use that in our favour," Leijer said.

"We're playing a different formation and I think that's benefiting us. Some of our football since Mehm's taken over has been very good."

Victory will need to overcome the loss of important trio Grant Brebner, Surat Sukha and Robbie Kruse, all due to suspension.

Diogo Ferreira will replace Brebner in a holding midfield role, while Rody Vargas is expected to fill Sukha's absence at left-back and Marvin Angulo remains the favourite to replace Kruse.

Kick-off is at 7.30pm.