Tando Velaphi is set to make his long-awaited Melbourne Victory A-League debut when he takes the goalkeeping gloves for the club's final home match of the season against Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Tando Velaphi is set to make his long-awaited Melbourne Victory A-League debut when he takes the goalkeeping gloves for the club's final home match of the season against Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Friday night. With finals hopes now extinguished coach Jim Magilton is keen to look at his options and Velaphi is one of the main beneficiaries having had to watch on since he suffered a serious leg injury on the eve of the season.
Magilton said Velaphi will come in for Ante Covic while Diogo Ferreira is also set to be included for the first time in a couple of months.
"Tando is going to play. I want to have a look at Tando, Diogo played prior to leaving with Olyroos and he's going to get a go and I want to have a look at him and assess him," Magilton said.
"I think it's important that we try and have a look at these guys, it gives us an opportunity to do that tomorrow night and hopefully they can take that opportunity."
Velaphi, who arrived at the club ahead of last year's ill-fated AFC Champions League campaign, and impressed in those matches as well as in the pre-season friendly against Celtic, was diagnosed with a fracture in his leg on the eve of the season.
The injury forced Victory to move quickly to secure the services of Covic, who has been one of the best players for the club this season.
He was always going to face a fight against Covic for his spot and Velaphi's recovery took longer than expected.
He was forced to watch on as Lawrence Thomas also was given his chance early in the season, impressing everyone in his two appearances.
Magilton, who insists he is still auditioning for the role full time will use this match and the final clash against Perth to test out what types of players the club need to acquire in the off season in order to regenerate the list.
"I think every club regenerates and great players come and go. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the players who are representing this club with great dignity and quality, you know deserve all the recognition and accolades that'll come their way," he said.
"It's the law of the jungle and any club that wants to remain successful, there has to be an underbelly of ability coming through or talent coming through or quality coming through."
"That is just the way football clubs are and to remain successful you have to be able to do that. The chairman spoke the other night about Newcastle having won the 2008 final to Melbourne Victory in 2009, the regeneration in that part is that they have one lad who played last week and there was nine of our lads still on the books, rightly or wrongly, I just think that is competition and we just need competition in the squad, it's as simple as that."