Pondeljak: Key week for Victory
Melbourne midfielder Tom Pondeljak sees the two home matches against Adelaide and Wellington and the trip away to Gold Coast as crucial to the club's hopes of winning the Premier's Plate.
Melbourne Victory is approaching the most important seven days of its season so far according to veteran midfielder Tom Pondeljak, who sees the two home matches against Adelaide and Wellington and the trip away to Gold Coast as crucial to the club's hopes of winning the Premier's Plate.
Just two points separate the top three teams at the moment and wins against Adelaide and Wellington on Saturday and Tuesday would put Melbourne on top of the table heading into the crucial clash with the Gold Coast on Friday week.
Pondeljak said the playing group is well aware of the importance of strong results in these three games and it will be a good measure of where they are at in terms of preparation.
"We've got the game against Adelaide, then we back it up against Wellington on Tuesday and then up to the Gold Coast on Friday night," he said.
"It-s not going to be easy, it-s going to be tough and every team goes through it, and this is our time."
"We need to manage ourselves through it."
While Pondeljak, who has only just made it back into the starting XI after a run of injuries, recently celebrated his 34th birthday, he is not concerned by having to play three games in six days.
"I'm feeling fit as ever and feeling really good," he said.
"We've got great support staff here that look after the older ones like myself and 'Musky', but I don-t think there will be any problems."
"We will just re-jig a bit of the training for ourselves and it will just be business as usual."
While top spot and a huge shot at the Premier's Plate beckons with good results against the Reds, Phoenix and Gold Coast, Pondeljak is keeping his focus on this Saturday's opposition.
Melbourne is on an eight-match winning streak against Adelaide which currently props up the table, but that's no reason to take the Reds lightly according to Pondeljak.
"It's a bit weird seeing Adelaide at the bottom of the table - they've had a bit of a tough year," he said.
"In saying that, they are only two or three points off the top six and things can change quickly in football."
"We-ve had the wood over them in recent games, especially at home and we just want to continue that this week."
He says the strong rivalry between the clubs means that no matter what the ladder position and regardless of the form they take into the contest, there is sure to be plenty of passion.