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Victory skipper fit to front Reds: coach

Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan has overcome injury and been declared a certain starter against Adelaide United in Friday night's A-League grudge match.

Milligan was sent home from the Socceroos squad in Europe with a knee injury - a decision which Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said had allowed the defensive linchpin to recover from his ailment.

"He's looking good, he has trained fully this week," Postecoglou told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

"I'm pleased we got him back on Saturday. If he had stayed he wouldn't have played anyway against Canada and in terms of rehab it would have put us back three or four days again, so he definitely wouldn't have been right for Friday.

"Getting him back early has meant he got 48 hours of really good rehab and some light training and then the last two sessions he's done fully."

Milligan, who missed the Victory's season-opening scoreless draw against Melbourne Heart, will return along with New Zealand attacker Kosta Barbarouses for the clash against the Reds at Adelaide's Coopers Stadium.

Barbarouses, who won't arrive in Adelaide until Friday morning after playing for the Kiwis in their friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain on Tuesday, will come from the bench against an Adelaide outfit without two key players.

Reds defender Nigel Boogaard and Spanish midfielder Isaias will miss the match after being red-carded in Adelaide's 3-1 win against Perth Glory last Sunday.

Adelaide coach Josep Gombau was tight-lipped on Thursday about their replacements but versatile Osama Malik and former Western Sydney Wanderer Tarek Elrich loom as likely candidates for a match between the bitter rivals.

"The people in the club have explained to me that it's a big game," Gombau told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday.

"It's very nice to play these kind of games ... passion is very high."

Gombau's Adelaide downed the Victory 2-1 in a pre-season friendly a fortnight ago, but he dismissed any relevance of the result.

"Now will be different," he said.

"I expect an open game and I hope and I wish the people enjoy it. The best that we can do for the Australian league is that people who come to the stadium enjoy it - and if you score goals, people will enjoy it."


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