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Jan 2, 2008

Vargas vows Victory will get a roll on

Buzzing from his first senior Socceroos call-up at the age of 29, Melbourne Victory defender Rodrigo Vargas promises his side will make life difficult for A-League finals hopefuls now they have returned to form.

The champions are virtually no chance of making the finals this season, but turned back the clock 12 months with a 5-2 demolition of Central Coast on Monday to knock the Mariners off the top of the league.

The team that replaced them, Queensland Roar, are the Victory's next opponents on Saturday night.

But Vargas, rewarded for two excellent A-League seasons with a call-up to a Socceroos training camp in Sydney next week, said the Victory were keen to gather momentum towards the Asian Champions League in March now they had found form.

"To go away from home and score five goals is a huge boost to our confidence," Vargas said.

"Winning breeds confidence and that's what we want to do for the last four games - get on a bit of a roll for the Champions League.

"Last year we did everything right - this year we've been a bit unlucky with a few things. But it goes to show the team can put a good performance together on the park.

"These last few weeks we can go out knowing there's not much pressure on us."

Vargas was one of the more interesting Socceroos training camp selections - having not figured in a national team since training with and being discarded from an Australian under-17 squad more than a decade ago.

Two years ago, he was playing with Green Gully in the Victorian Premier League after being ignored by A-League clubs despite several seasons of experience with the Melbourne Knights in the old NSL.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick signed him for season two, and Vargas has repaid him by becoming the team's defensive rock - his hallmark his clever reading of play.

"I'm obviously very honoured with the call-up but I'm being realistic about it - it's just a training squad," Vargas said.

"I know there's a lot of quality players abroad but hopefully the A-League players can put on a good show for Pim (Verbeek)."

Vargas will get another chance to impress the Socceroos coach ahead of the training camp, with Verbeek to attend the Victory-Roar match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Merrick is set to retain the same starting 11 which battered Central Coast to play the Roar.

But he has been forced into two squad changes - injured Grant Brebner and Joe Keenan making way for Carlos Hernandez and Steven Pace.

The Roar will be missing several key players, with experienced Craig Moore suspended and Danny Tiatto and goalkeeper Liam Reddy injured.