Heart A-League skipper Fred backs Kalmar
Goal-scoring Melbourne Heart midfielder Nick Kalmar says captain Fred is right behind him even if it means the skipper remains on the bench.
Kalmar found the back of the net in the Heart's 3-1 win over Sydney FC on Sunday which put them back into the A-League top six - his second goal in succession at home.
The 25-year-old's strong recent form kept Fred on the bench despite the captain having recovered from a quad injury.
And Kalmar said on Monday the Brazilian's encouragement had given him confidence.
"Fred has been really, really supportive of me," Kalmar said.
"The last few weeks, he's had a few chats with me and has told me to keep going which has been really good for me."
A foundation player for the Heart, Kalmar's career has been stunted by injuries and he missed most of last season as they made the finals.
He said he felt the more game time he had, the better his fitness and his form.
"I'm just trying to repay the coaching staff and my teammates and doing what I can to achieve the three points.
"I really want to play finals with the Heart."
Their next challenge is to win away from home - something they have failed to do since December.
In their favour, the clash with Wellington Phoenix is in Dunedin so it's an away game for both teams.
Kalmar said it was puzzling why his team failed to bring the same intensity to their away games, although he felt the signs had been promising against the Newcastle Jets despite a 2-0 loss.
"We created enough but we didn't take our opportunities so we think if we can do that and keep our structures good at the back and not concede, we can get a win.
"If we come into the finals, we'll most likely have to play away so we need to rectify the problem."
The Heart are up to fifth position on the league ladder on 27 points, the same as Newcastle and Sydney but with a superior points differential.