Ward raring to go for Victory

Last time around it was Grant Brebner who made a sensational return from injury for the Melbourne Victory but this week the comeback kid could be Nick Ward.

Last time around it was Grant Brebner who made a sensational return from injury for the Melbourne Victory but this week the comeback kid could be Nick Ward.

Ward is the man to look out for as the Hyundai A-League leaders travel to Newcastle on Saturday night to face the reigning premiers with the Victory set to have one of their strongest squads of the season at their disposal.

Only the injured Daniel Vasilievski and the suspended Ney Fabiano are unavailable out of the Victory's 22-man squad although Costa Rican international Jose Luiz Lopez may not be risked as he will only arrive in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon following a marathon 35-hour journey home to Australia after playing in both of his country's World Cup qualifiers during the past week.

But Ward, who played only the last 15 minutes in his first appearance for the Victory this season in the club's last match before the international break against Perth Glory following a long lay-off with a calf injury, is raring to go.

And coach Ernie Merrick hopes Ward can make the same kind of impact upon his full return to action as the inspirational Brebner did in what his first game for 10 months in the 4-0 win over Perth.

"I don't think he is capable of playing 90 minutes but he has been outstanding in training so he is capable of playing 75 (minutes) or thereabouts," Merrick said of Ward on Friday on the eve of the trip to Newcastle.

"Whether he (Ward) starts or not he is certainly a very useful attacking midfielder and goal scorer to have in the squad."

Meanwhile Brebner, who returned in great style against Perth following his long lay-off with the debilitating groin condition osteitis pubis, could be handed even great responsibility against Newcastle if the Victory decided to rest Lopez.

Merrick said he could not have been happier with the way his midfield general returned against Perth.

"For Grant to come back after 10 months out with osteitis pubis the way he did against Perth Glory was quite outstanding," he said.

"He played 85 minutes and I am sure he would have played the last five if I hadn't have taken him off (as a precaution)."

Merrick says the Victory head to Newcastle confident but not overconfident despite handing the Jets a 5-0 drubbing earlier this season.

"There is no doubt confidence is high in the team and I am a great believer in confidence," he said.

"We are confident we will give it a good shot and there is a certainly a good atmosphere in camp."

"But they (Newcastle) will have players coming back from injuries - both Griffiths brothers (Adam and Joel) - and they are on their home ground so they won't be an easy team to beat and we are going up there expecting a tough fight."