No change to free-flowing Melbourne

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick has vowed to continue to attack in Thursday's first leg of the major semi-final against Sydney saying he is not concerned that Victory will go into the game as underdogs.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick has vowed to continue to attack in Thursday's first leg of the major semi-final against Sydney saying he is not concerned that Victory will go into the game as underdogs.

Sydney edged out Melbourne 2-0 last Sunday to claim the Hyundai A-League premiership and with several players out injured, there could be a feeling that Melbourne may have to change its approach to the way it plays the Sky Blues.

But that's not in the mind of the coach, who is unconcerned by his side going into the match in Thursday as outsiders, saying that with a bit better finishing it could have been a completely different result on Sunday.

"One way or another it doesn't bother me. There's no doubt we have to score goals. We restricted Sydney front shots from distance. They scored two terrific goals. We created numerous chances inside the box. We didn't put them away," Merrick said.

"We feel as though we've played some good football. But we have to play better and have to score goals. Especially in the first leg of a major semi-final you've got to score goals."

Robbie Kruse has been ruled out for the rest of the season, leaving Merrick to re-organise his line-up for this match. The coach sees this as an opportunity to try a new attacking combination in a bid to break a scoring drought against Sydney which has stretched to three games.

"I think you'll find a different forward line and we've got tremendous attacking midfield players who like to get forward, Angulo, Ward, Pondeljak, Hernandez. We think we've got the strike force to do the job."

Merrick would not be drawn on the precise nature of his attacking set-up, but said the free-flowing Victory style of play would not be compromised.

"I can't give too much away, but our fans can look forward to a very attacking team, a very exciting forward line, without compromising our defensive responsibilities," he said.

There will be at least a couple of changes at the other end of the field, with Merrick confirming that Kevin Muscat and Surat Sukha would come into the first XI. Rody Vargas will be given until match day to prove he is fit after struggling with knee soreness this week.

"Rody Vargas is a decision we are going to make the day of the game and we will have player on standby. He's actually feeling quite good Rody, and he's one of the few players who can play with injuries and after 27 rounds, you-d expect a few of them to have those," Merrick said.

"Bearing in mind that last season he played every minute of every game last season as did Kevin Muscat. He's 60-40, I've pencilled him in and I don't have a rubber. If he brings a rubber, that's up to him."