Muscat coy on Rojas return for Melbourne Derby

Victory coach Kevin Muscat is happy with how Marco Rojas has trained but will decide on game day whether he’ll unleash the “Kiwi Messi” from the start in Saturday night’s huge Melbourne Derby.

Muscat confirmed the New Zealand international is in line to make his return from a hamstring injury which kept him out of last week’s impressive 3-0 win over Wanderers in Sydney. 

But it’s unclear whether the pacy winger will start or make an impact off the bench in the blockbuster at AAMI Park. 

“He’s [Rojas] done really well this week, he’s completed everything that’s been asked of him,” Muscat told reporters on Friday. 

“Having said, that we’ll wait till this afternoon and even tomorrow morning to see if he has any reaction. 

“But at this point in time he’s completed everything that’s been asked of him. We’ll have to analyse and make a decision in the next 24 hours.”

Kevin Muscat in action during a Melbourne Victory training session.

One striker certain to start for Victory is Besart Berisha. 

Following last weekend’s hat-trick against Wanderers, the Albanian international is in line to equal or perhaps even surpass Archie Thompson’s Hyundai A-League top goal scoring mark.

The Victory marksman sits with Shane Smeltz on 89 goals – one behind Thompson – but Muscat said records being broken is not something that’s been discussed in training this week.

“It’d be great [to equal the record] but it’s not something that’s been a focus, in all truth it hasn’t even been mentioned.

“Many have had individual honours before, the greatest is team success and that’s what ‘Bes’ is about.

“It’s inevitable that it’s going to happen and if it happens tomorrow great, but if it has to wait till the following week we wait.”

Melbourne Victory striker Besart Berisha celebrates one of his three goals on Saturday night.

Victory were soundly beaten by their rivals in Round 2, losing 4-1 to a Tim Cahill-inspired City, who also dumped Victory out of the Westfield FFA Cup semi finals barely ten days later. 

Almost two months on, an improving Victory sits a point behind City with a game in hand, and Muscat is confident his side have not been scarred by their previous defeats.

“It’s a totally different situation. A lot of games have been played since the last one, a lot of things didn’t go our way that night.

“Tomorrow it’s out opportunity to force things to go out way. Albeit there’s only three points available in terms of the league table but in terms of everything else there’s a lot more on the line.”