Victory look for fast start against Coast
Melbourne Victory plan to use their maturity and muscle to crush the youthful exuberance of Gold Coast United from the opening whistle in their A-League clash on Saturday night.
Victory coach Jim Magilton said on Friday it was vital his squad fired from the start at Skilled Park against a young side that vowed to come out with "all guns blazing".
While the Victory still have the finals in sight with five games remaining, last-placed Gold Coast looked fearless as they held competition leaders Central Coast to a 3-3 draw in their most recent game.
This will be Gold Coast's third match under caretaker coach Mike Mulvey following the sacking of Miron Bleiberg after his fallout with outspoken owner Clive Palmer.
"They're going to be bouncing, they're going to be relishing it," Magilton said of the youngsters facing players of the calibre of Harry Kewell, Archie Thompson and Carlos Hernandez.
"What we have to do is make sure that we start the game well.
"We can't give them any encouragement; we have to get on top of this team right from the start because as we've seen, this team can play, there's no doubt about that."
Young Gold Coast defender Zac Anderson made it clear what Victory should expect on Saturday night.
"We are on a wave at the moment. We want to keep the confidence in the camp by winning games - we are going to come out tomorrow night with all guns blazing," he said.
The Victory will be without injured Brazilian defender Fabio, who is set to miss two weeks with a groin complaint, while striker Danny Allsopp, who has been starting from the bench, is also out with an achilles injury.
The Melbourne outfit look to be peaking at the right end of the season, but in eighth place could still miss the opportunity to do some damage in the finals.
Last week they let second-placed Brisbane Roar escape with a 3-2 win despite two goals from the in-form Kewell.
Magilton said they didn't want to rely on other teams crashing out to book their playoffs spot.
"We're building confidence within the club that can win games, bearing in mind the last two games played were against the first and second teams and we were very competitive.
"The players recognise that we can beat the best in this championship."
Almost a dozen of the Gold Coast youngsters are off contract at the end of the season, with Magilton well aware of their ability, particularly midfielder Ben Halloran.
"I like Halloran, I was surprised he was left out of the Olyroos squad," he said.
"We have to be very cautious and wary of him.
"From what I saw the other night I thought they were disciplined in their performance.
"They ran out of legs against a battle-hardened side who are striving to win the premiership but can we compete against them, most certainly."