Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat.
Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat. JOE CASTRO

Muscat to unleash exciting young guns on Roar

MELBOURNE Victory coach Kevin Muscat has declared that he can't wait to unleash his energetic batch of kids in Saturday's visit to Brisbane.

Josh Hope and Cameron McGilp will join fellow teen Christian Theoharous in the Victory squad, with the trio set to start on the bench against their fellow finals-bound opponent.

Stefan Nigro, 20, looks set to get a rare chance in a three-man midfield, with Rashid Mahazi ruled out for personal reasons.

Youth will be a key theme at Suncorp Stadium, with Brisbane Roar set to start Hope's Joeys teammate Joe Caletti in place of injured Matt McKay, with defender Kye Rowles also named in the squad.

Muscat revealed that striker Pierce Waring just missed out on the squad, but praised the kids' collective impact at training.

"I'm excited by the fact they've got their opportunity because they've waited a while and we can unleash them," Muscat said.

"He (Theoharous) will definitely get an opportunity, as will one or two of the others throughout the game. They're all energetic and good footballers.

"Christian, Cameron McGilp and Josh Hope will travel. It's exciting for them.

"The squad's thin this week but it's brought a lot of energy having these guys.

"They've been training with us for quite a while, but all of a sudden with a serious opportunity to be involved it's put a spring in their step and it's dragged the other boys with them."

Though rapt for the kids, Muscat declared it was time to bring the A-League into line with the rest of the world and introduce FIFA international breaks.

Victory are missing Besart Berisha, Marco Rojas, Jai Ingham and James Troisi, who was a late sub in the Socceroos' 1-1 draw with Iraq.

Wellington is hardest hit with seven absentees, with 17 players missing this round which has come just after a split round.

"How Wellington are expected to, time after time (play on FIFA breaks). They're effectively playing two or three games a year less than everyone else," Muscat said.

"Does it affect the integrity of the competition? It does, you can't hide away from that. Is there a solution? I don't know, it's not my job. It does make sense that we respect the windows.

"The split round makes sense because we want the Australian teams to do well in Asia (Champions League).

"Can the split round coincide with the FIFA window? It's only a week apart. Surely that (a FIFA break instead of a split round) would be better.''

News Corp Australia


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