Sport Football Muscat still tinkering with Victory line-up
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Muscat still tinkering with Victory line-up

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Kevin Muscat is happy to shake up his team but not their style as he searches for a winning formula at Melbourne Victory.

The Victory’s unusual formation – a 4-2-2-2 structure without a traditional centre forward – has brought its fair share of goals but has left traditionalists cold.

Against the Newcastle Jets, they struggled to break down a packed defence and succumbed to two sucker punches from Nathan Burns.

The lack of a cutting edge in front of goal will lead to more tinkering, but Muscat won’t be moved on his formation.

“The structure has brought us some very attractive and good football,” Muscat said.

“Am I happy with the points return we’ve got for that? No.

“I believe in what we’re doing. And more importantly, the team believes in the way we’re playing.”

Archie Thompson will miss Friday night’s match against Perth Glory after a hamstring tweak from last week stopped him getting through a Thursday training session, with Muscat also telegraphing one key change down back.

A reshuffled defence will allow Leigh Broxham to move to his favoured midfield holding role alongside Mark Milligan.

Muscat made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the team’s performance from the touchline last Sunday, with Broxham and Kosta Barbarouses copping more than most.

Muscat revealed Jason Geria will move to right-back at the expense of young midfielder Rashid Mahazi, partly to counter Perth’s pace.

“They possess pace in attacking areas that have hurt teams in recent weeks,” Muscat said.

Glory coach Alistair Edwards agreed, adding the side’s mobility in the centre of the park was a strength.

Perth were unstoppable in the second half last week, netting three in the last half hour to overcome the Phoenix.

Despite scoring a brace, winger Sidnei won’t travel to Melbourne because of a hamstring injury, joining Shane Smeltz on the treatment table.

Edwards said Melbourne’s big and boisterous crowd would not intimidate his side.

“A lot of teams might get intimidated … but we’re really looking forward to it,” he said.

Perth will welcome back captain Jacob Burns to the centre of midfield after he finished a two game suspension.