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Jan 30, 2011

Kruse and Allsopp pairing looms

The A-League's in-form striker is about to be joined by the man he succeeded in what could eventually become a fight for a starting spot at the Melbourne Victory.

Danny Allsopp, who has scored five goals in his past four games, is rejoined this week by Socceroos star Robbie Kruse at the Victory ahead of their clash with Newcastle Jets at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Allsopp, re-signed by the club just before Christmas after an overseas stint, continued his superb form with two cracking goals in the 2-0 win against Gold Coast at the weekend.

Kruse was performing similar feats prior to Allsopp's arrival, winning a place in the Socceroos' Asian Cup squad after netting 10 goals in 16 A-League games.

His return - coupled with Archie Thompson's looming comeback from injury within the next fortnight - means the squeeze will be on for starting spots.

Thompson has a lock on one spot, which would appear to set up Kruse and Allsopp for a head-to-head battle for a second striking place.

But Allsopp believes all three strikers and midfield playmaker Carlos Hernandez are capable of playing in the same side.

Kruse and Allsopp have never played together - the 22-year-old's emergence as Victory's weapon of choice coming after Allsopp had departed for stints in Qatar and the United States.

"We haven't all played (together) before, but we always seem to be able to work things out on the field," Allsopp said.

"I know what Archie's all about and Robbie as well. I haven't played with Robbie but we'll deal with that when it happens.

"It's a good position for the club to have."

Allsopp's brilliant double all but secured the Victory a finals berth.

The fifth-placed Victory can guarantee a top-six berth with a win against the Jets, who have lost six of their past eight games and have lost key players through injury and departures.

But Hernandez, who was taken off at halftime in the Gold Coast match with a groin strain, is no certainty to play against Newcastle.

The Victory say they will know Tuesday whether he will be fit enough for selection.

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