No Theo, no worries

Melbourne might be going into Sunday's away clash against Wellington without keeper Michael Theoklitos but coach Ernie Merrick if confident his team is ready to take all three points from the Windy City.

Melbourne might be going into Sunday's away clash against Wellington without keeper Michael Theoklitos but coach Ernie Merrick if confident his team is ready to take all three points from the Windy City.

Theoklitos rolled his ankle at training during the week and will miss this game with understudy Mitchell Langerak to take up the spot between the posts. Theoklitos was the hero of the Pre-Season Cup final against Wellington just over two weeks ago, pulling off a great save during the match and then producing the winning stop in an epic penalty shootout.

The Big No.1 may not be there to save the day this time around but Merrick is confident his team has learned a lot from that match as well as the three times the two teams met during last season, which saw one Melbourne win and two draws.

"They learned a bit about us, and we learned a lot about them. They are a tough team, they are uncompromising. They don't create many chances but they prevent other teams from creating many chances," Merrick said.

The coach sees his greater options in term of personnel as important to this match, especially with the availability of Kevin Muscat, Billy Celeski, Leigh Broxham and Grant Brebner.

"This time we've got four more options in terms of who is in the squad. We were undermanned then (in the Pre-Season Cup final), we went on to win it on penalties. But we are certainly not underestimating Wellington. They are one of the most improved teams in the league," he said.

"I think they are good at negating the opposition's attacking prowess. Last year was a year of draws for us. We've changed our mindset this year. We've got better players in and the Pre-Season Cup has shown that we've really attacked teams. I think it will be a good yardstick on how we play attacking football."

The season-opener against Sydney did not quite work out to plan for Merrick and his men, who dominated the game early, but failed to convert their chances in a match that ended 0-0.

The coach took plenty of positives from the match, including the fact that taking in the Pre-Season Cup, Melbourne has now not conceded a goal in 360 minutes of football.

"I can't complain because we defended really well. We restricted them to a couple of shots. That's the nature of football, you can't stop a team shooting in 90 minutes," he said.

"We've just gone through all our chances, I think there was about 15 reasonable chances and three or four gilt-edged chances," he said.

"If you're defending well, you're holding possession well and you're camped in the opposition's box, you are doing something right. The goals will follow."