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Jan 12, 2012

Magilton ready to get down to business

New coach Jim Magilton says it's not about reinventing the wheel at Melbourne Victory, just removing the wobbles to get their A-League season back on track.

Magilton's first week at the helm of the Victory enters the business end on Friday night at AAMI Park, with his debut game in charge against fierce rivals Adelaide United.

The chirpy Northern Irishman has employed a far different training set-up to that employed under sacked Mehmet Durakovic and previous Victory coach Ernie Merrick.

And his infectious and enthusiastic style appears to have rubbed off on his players, who were upbeat and sharp at their Thursday session.

But ex-Southampton and Ipswich star Magilton, who has not been a head coach for more than two years until his left-field appointment at the Victory, knows he will be judged by his on-field results rather than a charm offensive which has won over all involved.

"I was going to do this press conference in my Speedos," joked Magilton, as he stood pitchside while Melbourne turned on a bizarrely cold January day, complete with British-style drizzle and temperatures in the mid-teens.

"The players have been lively. Training's been sharp, it's had a great tempo to it and they've been responsive."

The Victory got back into the winners' list with a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets last weekend under caretaker coach Kevin Muscat, who now reverts to his assistant's role.

Now a fascinating clash against Adelaide United, who have also changed coaches recently to Victory's most infamous sparring partner John Kosmina, is set to have huge implications for both sides targeting finals after indifferent starts to the season.

Magilton admits instilling a passing brand of football into his side may take a few weeks.

Short-term he is prepared to build on what he has, believing the Victory showed against the Jets the quality they possess.

But he hinted some personnel changes were on the cards for the Adelaide match, and looks certain to enter the market to strengthen his squad when the A-League transfer window opens on January 17.

"You can't recreate the wheel ... there were a lot of good things last week that I saw, and one or two things that we've implemented this week," he said.

"There's always going to be tinkering and there's going to be players who come in who probably thought they weren't going to get a game this year."

Captain Adrian Leijer remains in doubt after missing the past three matches with a groin injury, though he trained with the squad on Thursday.

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