Muscat: We need more goals from more people

Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat has called on the club's fringe players to step up and start contributing goals as Victory enter the Saturday's opening game against Sydney without either Archie Thompson or Robbie Kruse.

Melbourne skipper Kevin Muscat has called on the club's fringe players to step up and start contributing goals as Victory enter the Saturday's opening game against Sydney without either Archie Thompson or Robbie Kruse.

Thompson is not expected back until at least halfway through the season and it was hoped Kruse, one of the club's most improved players last season, would be able to step into the breach.

But his first appearance for the 2010-11 season will have to wait with hamstring tightness set to rule the 21-year-old out of the match at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Muscat said the lack of a designated striker will not change the way Melbourne approached the game and it was up to the other attacking players to take the opportunity and perform when asked.

"I don't think we'll change the way we go about playing. It-s been well-documented the way we-ll play will be the same. We are going to have to rely on other players, it-s a simple as that, Players of the ilk of (Tom) Pondeljak, (Nick) Ward, (Marvin) Angulo. They are going to have to contribute more in terms of goals this season, hopefully that will happen," he said.

"You throw Mate Dugandzic into that mould and Carlos as well, we need to get more goals from midfield, that's evident."

Muscat said the need to get more goals from a wider spread of players was not just because of Thompson's unavailability for much of the season.

"The reality is that in the last 12 months, we-ve lost players that have scored a hell of a lot of goals with this club. Just as they were given an opportunity a little while back, other players have got that opportunity, and I'd like to see one or two of them stand up and really take that opportunity and grasp it."

Coach Ernie Merrick said he has every faith in his back-up attackers to get the job done on Saturday night.

"We'll play with three up front and we-ve got proven goalscorers," he said. "We've got a variety of attacking options."

While the maintenance of Melbourne's status as one of the competition's yardstick this season will probably depend on the improvement of the younger brigade, at the other end of the scale, Muscat, who will turn 37 on Saturday, said the fire still burns in his 22nd season as a footballer.

While the missed penalty in the Grand Final lost to Sydney last year still burns, he said that is not the reason he wanted to play on this season.

"Without a doubt, as soon as that goes, you lose your passion to get out here to compete, you may as well not be playing. I've certainly got that. It's nothing to do with losing a Grand Final or missing a penalty, I just love the game and looking forward to the game on Saturday night," he said.

With the exception of Kruse, Thompson and Matthew Kemp, Melbourne has a full side to pick from, with Michael Petkovic to make his debut in goal.