Nullarbor crossing holds no fears

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is confident Victory can turn around a poor recent record in Perth when it meets the Glory at ME Bank Stadium on Friday night.

Melbourne coach Ernie Merrick is confident Victory can turn around a poor recent record in Perth when it meets the Glory at ME Bank Stadium on Friday night.

Melbourne has lost its past three games in Perth, including two losses late last season when Victory was in very good form and on its way to the premiership and championship double. Merrick doesn't believe there is one major reason for the Glory's hold over his side on home turf, but believes that Victory can turn it around on Friday.

"I think it's always difficult to travel over that distance and also to New Zealand and to Townsville. We found it difficult to get the guys up for the game. It's something we need to learn to cope with if we are going to do well. We've got our flight protocols in place and it's really about individual motivation to play at their best every game, home and away, travel or no travel," Merrick said.

"It's not a case of wanting to play from that sort of motivation. It comes down to a five percent drop off. Five percent extra running, extra chasing, determined to get into goal-scoring areas. It's not that they are not motivated to play, it's about being motivated to play at your best and do all that extra work. I think it's a problem worldwide in football in away from home games, you just have to look at everybody's record," he said.

Perth has traditionally employed counter-attacking tactics against Melbourne, but the coach expects a very different type of game with Glory having recruited heavily off-season, adding Qantas Socceroos trio Jacob Burns, Mile Sterjovski and Chris Coyne. Perth is coming off a home win against the Jets and Merrick believes it will be up for another attacking contest.

"(David Mitchell)'s done well, especially getting that win up, because there's no easy games. Perth has always been a tough place for us to go, but other times we've played really well against Perth. We've got a good side and it's important we go over there for the three points and that's the way we'll play," he said.

"If teams defend and play a counter-attacking game against us, okay they might get a point, or a whinge from us. But the teams that did that last year finished in the bottom three. Now, Perth's got a much better squad, at home, they'd like to come at us and win the game. I think it will be open game."

Melbourne will be without left back Evan Berger, who has a groin strain and will miss at least two weeks, while Matthew Kemp is unlikely to play as his wife Stephanie is yet to give birth. Merrick said that Leigh Broxham would probably replace Berger, while Surat Sukha would retain his spot at right back.

"In place of Berger we've just been impressed with Leigh Broxham. He played a whole range of defensive positions. He slotted nicely into left back against the Fury. Surat can play either side, but I don't want to chop and change him. It looks like Leigh will play there," he said.

Melbourne will decide its final squad late on Wednesday, with only one change likely.

Bookmark and Sharevar addthis_options = 'email, facebook, print, twitter, favorites, more';var addthis_brand = "Melbourne Victory";

Follow Melbourne Victory on Facebook | Twitter | YouTube