Victory's mental test

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick insists that playing a third game in seven days on Saturday night in Townsville will be more of a mental test than a physical one.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick insists that playing a third game in seven days on Saturday night in Townsville will be more of a mental test than a physical one.

After downing the previously unbeaten Brisbane Roar 3-0 at AAMI Park last Sunday the Victory followed up with a 0-0 draw at their home ground on Wednesday night but they still have to front up against the Fury at Dairy Farmers Stadium this weekend.

And while he admitted that fatigue played a part in Wednesday night's result, Merrick was at pains to point out that fatigue is as much a mental problem for his players as it is a physical one.

"When you said lack of zip I said I'd probably put it down to fatigue which affects thinking as well as the physiology," Merrick said.

"I think we should be able to cope with it (playing three games in a week), I wasn't using it as an excuse."

"Fatigue has two effects, one is the physical one the other one's a mental one."

"Being switched on and being sharp in your decision-making and firing the ball forward to quality players up front who are getting turns and running at defenders, when you're really fatigued all those things are affected."

"If they can get up mentally (on Saturday night) it overcomes the physical side."

With skipper Kevin Muscat (foot) and striker Robbie Kruse (calf) both still unavailable after suffering injuries last weekend, Merrick will also have to make do without Qantas Olyroos Mate Dugandzic and Diogo Ferreira against the Fury.

But with Evan Berger and Marvin Angulo having only made fleeting appearances so far, Merrick is pleased he'll be able to inject both because of their freshness.

"There's a lot of positive signs out there," Merrick added.

"I think they're (the Fury) a good side and they'll be difficult in their home state."

"I think it's really about us and making sure we're fresh in the mind to have a real go up there away from home."

"We'll have a couple of players that will be fresh because in some ways we're forced to but I don't see the need to have wholesale changes."

Speaking of Muscat's absence for the first game of what could be a month on the sidelines, Merrick remains confident that Adrian Leijer and his fellow defenders can pull together and cope with his absence.

"I think Kevin is always missed, because of his effect as a leader, but defensively I thought Rody (Vargas) and Ado (Adrian Leijer) did a terrific job," he said.

"We defended well. We kept a clean sheet. (Michael Petkovic) did very well. There's a lot of positives to be taken out from the game."

"I felt there wasn't enough movement for midfielders to hit strikers. It was a bit static. It will help when we have someone fresh to come in."