Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Victory sweat on two key midfielders
By Guy Hand
Melbourne Victory are confident midfielders Mark Milligan and Billy Celeski will be fit for the A-League derby against Melbourne Heart despite injury concerns.Milligan has a minor hamstring issue, while Celeski's back seized up in the Victory's 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar last weekend, forcing his halftime substitution.Neither did much at training on Thursday - Milligan appearing only briefly pitchside at their Gosch's Paddock base before being confined to indoor and pool sessions with Celeski.But the Victory expect both to be ready to take on the Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday night in a match which, particularly for the Heart, appears season-defining."They're just on different programs to the rest of us. But they're going to be ready to go for the weekend," goalkeeper Nathan Coe said on Thursday."They'll be ready and firing."The Victory could ill afford to lose either.Both have been in excellent form during the Victory's resurgence under coach Ange Postecoglou to third on the ladder.The Heart won the season-opening derby 2-1 over the Victory - blowing their more fancied rivals off the park to continue their dominance of the Melbourne rivalry.They have won three derbies and the Victory just one, with three draws.The Victory have since improved markedly since that clash, while the Heart have been patchy and sit eighth in the 10-team league.Coe wasn't part of the round one derby, signing for the Victory soon afterwards.But he has certainly grasped the importance of bragging rights to the Victory, who boast more members and bigger attendances than their newer crosstown rivals."Everyone's been talking about it. It's a pretty important time for both teams," Coe said."Any time you lose a derby it's not a fun thing, but this weekend's a chance to change that."The ones that are in the past are in the past. What we can do is go out this weekend, move in the right direction and show who is the bigger club."