NPL preview: Northcote v Victory

Melbourne Victory resumes its NPL2 West campaign with a trip to Northcote City on Saturday.

Summary

Victory has four games remaining this season, beginning with the Round 25 clash at John Cain Memorial Park.

It returns to action for the first time since August 4, when it was edged 2-1 by the Manningham United Blues.

Ryan Lethlean came off the bench to score late on for Victory, which dominated possession for long periods at Epping Stadium.

The likes of William Wilson, Nicholas Hamakiotis and Nishan Velupillay started for Victory as numerous youngsters were given chances in the FFA Cup.

Benjamin Carrigan, Anthony Lesiotis and Brandon Lauton started in the extra-time loss to the Newcastle Jets, while Jack Palazzolo came off the bench.

Victory is ninth in the NPL2 West and on a five-match losing run ahead of its encounter against Northcote.

Northcote claimed a 4-2 win over Victory when the teams last met – in June 2017 – and is third in the NPL2 East.

Head coach Gareth Naven's pre-match thoughts

"It definitely does break up the season for our players and it gives them a nice little break and more so probably gives them time away from my voice as well I think. Look, it's always nice to play matches and always nice to get back to getting better at performing. My message has been fairly consistent for the whole year ­­– getting our youth players to understand how to perform, what it looks like and for us to be able to repeat it and to be really brave about how we go about playing our football and get a really consistent approach on the players that play for us at times are vulnerable and exposed to becoming better players. So, can you do that in safety? No, I don't think you can. You've got to be able to give the players the ability to have the tools to be brave in how they play the game, both attacking and defending. We have another opportunity to work towards that this weekend."

This week

NPL2 West 2019 Round 25
Northcote City v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, August 17, 3.15pm AEST
John Cain Memorial Park, Melbourne

U20 NPL2 West 2019 Round 25
Northcote City v Melbourne Victory
Saturday, August 17, 12.45pm AEST
John Cain Memorial Park, Melbourne

U18 NPL West 2019 Round 24
Avondale v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, August 18, 12.00pm AEST
Avenger Park, Melbourne

U15 NPL West 2019 Round 24
Avondale v Melbourne Victory
Sunday, August 18, 10.00am AEST
Avenger Park, Melbourne

Last week

U18 NPL West: Victory 6 (Anastovski 11'/23'/59'/81'/83', Parish 48') Melbourne Knights 2
U15 NPL West: Victory 1 (Minutoli 61') Melbourne Knights 0