Robbie and Archie to re-unite

Robbie Kruse is set to make a sooner-than-expected return to Melbourne's starting line-up and will link up with Archie Thompson for the first time this season against Central Coast on Thursday night.

Robbie Kruse is set to make a sooner-than-expected return to Melbourne's starting line-up and will link up with Archie Thompson for the first time this season against Central Coast on Thursday night.

Kruse scored a club record four goals in four games before suffering a quadriceps injury in the 1-0 loss to Gold Coast on November 6 and was forced to sit out last Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Perth.

But once again the 22-year-old has shown his remarkable recuperative powers and pending a fitness test will come into the starting XI next to Thompson, who is two games into his own comeback from a long-term knee injury.

"The good thing is that given that this training session goes alright, it will be the first time we have Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson up front," coach Ernie Merrick said.

"Both Robbie and Archie will definitely start, which is what we-ve been trying to achieve from day one, trying to get two recognised strikers up front rather than putting a midfielder up there," he said.

Kruse has been in fine form this season when he hasn-t been injured, scoring five goals in nine games, while Merrick believes Thompson is getting back to his best after nearly eight months out of the game.

"Archie is pretty close to 90 percent. It depends for the period of time. He's certainly playing good football at training and I thought he looked really good, particularly in the first half last week. He wasn't getting the service. He was through twice and that's a good sign," he said.

The re-unification of Melbourne's two first-choice strikers is not before time for Victory, who have lost their past two games, leaving their coach frustrated with their attacking play.

"Unless we operate well and consistently in the front third, we are not going to achieve what we want to achieve. Having the technical abilities of Robbie Kruse and Archie Thompson, and getting Carlos (Hernandez) back on form, I think we've got the technical ability to start picking up points on a regular basis," he said.

Skipper Kevin Muscat has declared himself a certain starter for the game despite the short back up from Sunday's game against Perth and the fact he picked up a knock in that match.

The inspirational captain said the return of the preferred strike duo will lift the entire team.

"A fir Archie and a fit Robbie will make a massive difference. Put them in any side and they'll make a big difference," he said. "Two different focuses to hit. We've been a bit light in terms of targets and it eliminates some excuses for Carlos, lets him do his work in a deeper area."

"All around it-s a massive positive for up. Not only to see both of them out on the park it gives you a lift but their ability is second to none in this competition. The longer we can keep them out there and get them as close to 100 per cent fit, the more chance we have of being successful."