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Jan 31, 2013

Victory pick teenager for A-League debut

Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou says he has no qualms about throwing teenage defender Scott Galloway into the cauldron of a clash with cross-town A-League rivals Melbourne Heart.

The 17-year-old fullback is set to start in place of suspended Diogo Ferreira in the A-League derby at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.

Arriving at the Victory last month from the AIS, where he skippered their side in the National Youth League last month, Galloway only made his debut in its youth team last week and impressed in the 4-1 win over the Heart.

But Postecoglou said age wasn't the key to playing well on the big stage.

"I've seen 30-year-olds crumble on the big stage," he said.

"At the end of the day, he plays for Melbourne Victory so we can't find a game that we're going to play in front of 3000 people for him.

"If he wants to be a Victory player, that means playing in front of big crowds, big games and I'm really confident he will do well."

Galloway, who grew up in Perth, has been on the Victory books for some time.

With his team flying, only losing twice in their past 14 games, Postecoglou said he wanted to make minimal changes.

"You don't want to disrupt things if they're going well.

"Rather than shift the team around to compensate for one change, it's better we just bring in someone who plays that position."

Eli Babalj, who was playing with Red Star Belgrade, is back in the Heart fold, however the side have lost Vince Grella (retired), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey) and Michael Marrone (Shanghai Shenxin) in the past week.

"They've had some decent results here in Melbourne even with absences over the past month or so," Postecoglou said.

"If they feel weakened in any way, we'll take it."

With two playing six on the ladder, the teams have split the results this season with both claiming 2-1 victories.

The Heart always lift against the Victory, however Postecoglou said his team also had plenty to play for and had improved since the last derby.

"I'd like to think we get up for them as well.

"It's an important game for both clubs. Obviously, we want to keep pursuing that top spot and they're pretty desperate to make finals.

"Regardless of the derby aspect, it's going to be a big game with both clubs looking for a result."

After selling out AAMI Park for their last-round win over fellow drawcards Sydney FC, the match is likely to set to a derby record with 45,000 expected, eclipsing the 42,032 who attended the season's opening clash at Etihad.

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