March 25, 2015 10:58:00 UK
Melbourne Victory are hopeful striker Besart Berisha can win his fitness battle ahead of Friday’s home clash with Central Coast Mariners.
Berisha limped off in the latter stages of last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
The international marquee was unable to train on Tuesday, and is in doubt for the Round 23 game at AAMI Park where Victory will look to keep the pressure on leaders Wellington Phoenix.
Kevin Muscat’s side have arguably the easiest run-in on paper of any of the five contenders for the Premier’s Plate – five of their remaining six matches are against teams currently outside the top six.
Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler said of Berisha, who signed for Victory after leading Brisbane Roar to the premiership and championship double last season: “He pulled up a bit sore but I think he’s going to be fine for Friday.
“Still two or three days before the game, hopefully he can be on the park with us.”
Berisha is third in the A-League Golden Boot standings with 11 goals, trailing second-placed Nathan Burns of Wellington Phoenix (13) and Sydney FC’s 16-goal marquee Marc Janko.
Victory have a game in hand over all their premiership rivals, but being held by Adelaide at the weekend left them four points behind Wellington.
Finkler said: “There’s always pressure to win when you play for Victory. On Friday it’s no different; we’re playing at home and really focused on getting the three points.
“Right now five teams can win the premiership, every point is really important.”
Victory must face the Mariners – who are almost out of the running for a Finals Series berth – twice before the end of the season. They won their only previous meeting so far this campaign in December when they picked up a 3-0 win in Gosford.
Melbourne Victory are 1.44 to beat Central Coast, who are 6.50 with the draw 4.50.
Don’t forget, if the match finishes 0-0, bet365 will refund all pre-match Correct Score, Half-Time/Full-Time and Scorecast bets with our fantastic Bore Draw Money Back offer.
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