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Jan, 26, 2011

Celeski injury another worry for Victory

Melbourne Victory's depth is set to be tested as they aim to seal a spot in the A-League finals after midfielder Billy Celeski suffered a hip injury in Wednesday night's 3-0 win over the Fury in Townsville.

Just four days after veteran defender Kevin Muscat's horror tackle on Heart youngster Adrian Zahra, which is likely to result in a season-ending suspension, Celeski was floored in the final minutes against the Fury.

"He's got a hip injury. The doctor's not sure exactly what it is but we finished up the game with only 10 players rather than make the injury worse," said Victory coach Ernie Merrick after the match.

"We're sort of struggling a little bit for the weekend. We've got quite a few injuries at the moment.

"As you can see we don't need any more. We'll see how he (Celeski) pulls up over the next couple of days."

Celeski's injury is a cruel blow to the Victory, who broke a four-match winless streak against the bottom-placed Fury thanks to a two-goal effort from substitute striker Mate Dugandzic following Danny Allsopp's first-half tap-in.

The Victory now face an awkward three-match finish to the preliminary season, playing finals aspirants Gold Coast, Newcastle and Adelaide.

While the Victory struggle with injury concerns in the back half of the field, the club is due to welcome back a pair of Socceroos strikers.

Robbie Kruse should be ready to take on the Jets at Etihad Stadium next Wednesday after his Socceroos' commitments end after the Asian Cup final this weekend.

Striker Archie Thompson, meanwhile, is due back soon after missing the last seven matches since injuring his hamstring in a 2-0 win over Perth on December 18.

The Victory currently sit in fifth position on the A-League table, with a four-point gap to cross-town rivals Melbourne Heart.

The Heart will have a chance to close the gap to only one point again if they can upset runaway ladder leaders Brisbane Roar this Saturday.

Victory midfielder Grant Brebner said every point counted at the business end of the season.

"We just want to get the points that make it mathematically possible for us to get there.

"Melbourne Victory have always put a good case forward when it comes to finals, so when we get there and if we get there we will look after ourselves then.

The Victory tackle Gold Coast United at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Sunday.

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