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Feb, 4, 2012

Magilton still has Victory A-League hopes

Unlike the two men sacked unceremoniously before him, Jim Magilton is without a win in his five matches as Melbourne Victory coach.

Yet the chirpy Northern Irishman is confident his first A-League win is coming - insisting there were good, positive signs in a 0-0 draw with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Magilton's team had no answers for a rampant Heart in the opening half.

But the Victory were better in the second half and looked to have momentum, until midfielder Grant Brebner's send-off with 15 minutes remaining turned the match into a scrap for survival.

Whether Magilton can shore up his future beyond a contract which runs until the end of the A-League season remains as unclear as when he arrived last month.

So far in his tenure, the Victory have managed four draws and a heavy loss, remain outside the top six and there have only been fleeting glimpses of the sort of football promised on his arrival.

Magilton's predecessor Mehmet Durakovic had at least managed one win in his last five matches being shown the door.

And two-time championship winner Ernie Merrick was sacked after getting the Victory to the finals last season - winning three and losing two of his last five A-League matches at the helm before being marched following a heavy Asian Champions League defeat.

Yet Magilton is urging patience, believing the way his team defended with their backs to the wall against Heart suggests both he and the Victory can turn around the season.

"We are a long way short of where I want us to be, and it drives me nuts," Magilton admitted.

"We need to be better with the ball. We do it every day in training. We just need to instil that belief that when you cross the white line, it's no different.

"I firmly believe we're getting there. Regardless of what it looks like to you guys, I can see things are going to change - I really do. We're going to build on today."

Victory face a tough task to give Magilton his maiden victory in their next match - a clash with competition leaders Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Friday night.

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