April 03, 2015 10:15:31 UK
Melbourne Victory skipper Mark Milligan is set to return to action in Sunday’s Premiership six-pointer away to Wellington Phoenix.
Victory would take a significant step towards securing the Premiers’ Plate if they beat the leaders at Westpac Stadium where they are 2.80.
Kevin Muscat’s side would take over at the top of the table and have a game still in hand over their four rivals.
Milligan missed Australia’s 0-0 friendly draw against Macedonia in Skopje in midweek with a knee problem, but he is expected to be passed fit to take on the Phoenix.
Winger Kosta Barbarouses will return from his three-week lay-off with a hamstring injury to face his former club.
Jason Geria is the only one of the trio of Olyroos who returned from international duty who is expected to play, with Scott Galloway and Connor Pain missing out. Geria and Macedonia international Daniel Georgievski will occupy the fullback slots in Wellington.
Muscat said the fact that Australia’s medical staff had sent Milligan home after last week’s friendly against Germany had helped him get fit in time.
“Millsy’s fine,” said the coach. “The fact that we got him here a day or two earlier allows him to get a lot more treatment and he’s looking forward to getting settled for the run in without any interruptions.”
Victory lost their last meeting with Wellington at home a month ago but the Phoenix look vulnerable after losing 3-0 in front of their own fans to Sydney FC last weekend.
“We are aware that they’re a good team and like any other trip on the road for us this year we’re going to have to be at our best to get a result,” said Muscat.
“It’s happened a couple of times now where we’ve been involved in top v second. It’s an exciting time; there’s a handful of games left and a lot of teams with a lot to play for, so I suppose it couldn’t be scripted any better.”
Melbourne are 12.00 to beat the Phoenix 1-0.
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