Melbourne Victory continues its push for a top-four finish in the Westfield W-League when it hosts Canberra United on Australia Day.
Victory is on a three-match winning streak heading into the clash at Lakeside Stadium, coming off successes over Perth Glory, the Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United.
It produced one of its best performances of the season in the win in Adelaide.
Natasha Dowie scored a brace either side of Rosie Sutton's first goal for the club at Marden Sports Complex.
Dowie moved onto five goals this season, while Victory's defence – led by Jenna McCormick, Emily Menges and the returning Laura Brock – kept a clean sheet.
McCormick and goalkeeper Teagan Micah will miss the clash with Canberra due to being with the Westfield Matildas.
Victory is pushing to make the finals and is level on points with fourth-placed Brisbane Roar, which has played one more game.
Canberra, which is sixth, has suffered three straight losses heading into the encounter.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins' pre-match thoughts
on how squad pulled up…
"Obviously Laura, Jenna and Teagan Micah have gone into camp. They're away with the Westfield Matildas at the moment. The rest of the girls, we saw them on Monday, they're all pretty good, we trained yesterday (Tuesday) and we had a really good conditioning day today (Wednesday) and everyone got through it really well so everyone's pulled up well from the game and obviously in good spirits as well."
on depth with McCormick and Micah away…
"We've been lucky that Angie Beard has been able to drop back into that left side central defensive role and she's done exceptionally well and obviously with Laura back and coming through the game really well last week we're confident she's got 90 minutes in her this week. It's been a highlight of the last four, five weeks that our back three and our goalkeeper have been very consistent. We've looked really solid defensively so it's good to have that platform of those girls playing consistently and doing such a good job, building a platform for the rest of us to go forward from."
"There's been a number of things that we've been trying to work on in our build up and most probably that was the most pleasing thing from the coach's aspect is the way that we dealt with what was in front of us (against Adelaide), different type of pressure, different times no pressure. When they didn't put too much pressure on us early on in the first half we were able to keep the ball and be patient, move the ball from side to side, switch play. When they pressed us, we were able to play out through them and over the top of them as well. That side of things was really pleasing because over the last four or five weeks they're some of the smaller things we've been trying to improve game to game and most definitely it was a big improvement."
"They're a side with a number of real good attacking threats and they're a team that we've got to be very wary of and show some respect to. Again, they're a team that maybe is a bit low on confidence after a few poor results, but we're just wary that a lot of these sides, similar to last week, a bit like an injured animal when they're down and they're injured that's when they fight the most so we give them a fair bit of respect. We'll start working on them on Friday, Saturday leading into the game, but they're a side that if you don't treat them with respect they've got a number of areas that they can hurt you so the girls will have tomorrow off and then we'll come in and have a look at them, we'll have a look at some video on them and go out and start working on ways that we can maybe negate their threats and look at ways we can hurt them as well."
Westfield W-League 2018/19 Round 12
Canberra United 0-0 Melbourne Victory
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
McKellar Park, Canberra
Neither team was able to find a breakthrough as Victory set a club record for points with the draw.
A makeshift Victory defence held firm, while the visitor created some decent chances away from home.
As it stands
Melbourne Victory v Canberra United
Lakeside Stadium, Melbourne
Sunday, January 26, 2020
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT