ROBBIE Kruse looms as Melbourne Victory’s saviour after the club’s slow and injury-riddled start to the A-League season.
Having demanded an improvement on last season’s poor outcome, Victory coach Grant Brebner is anything but pleased with his team’s progress in the 2020-21 campaign.
While they have played two less games than some other clubs, the Victory are bottom of the ladder with no points from two matches.
Adding to their woes are respective hamstring and ankle injuries suffered by key imports Rudy Gestede and Callum McManaman in the Victory’s 1-0 weekend loss to Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
“It’s not great that we don’t have those two players because they are big players for us they’ll win us games,” Brebner said of the former English Premier League pair, who will miss the Victory’s clash on Tuesday against Perth Glory at AAMI Park.
But the Victory do have Kruse.
The Socceroos attacker impressed in his return from a knee injury in a second-half cameo in Adelaide, and he’s set to start against Perth.
“We need Robbie Kruse,” Brebner said.
“We need a fit Robbie Kruse in our team, and it gives us another look and a better look.
“Robbie’s merited his start (against the Glory). Robbie’s fully in my thoughts to start the game.”
While Kruse is poised to make an impression in attack, the Victory also need to be sharp in defence against a Glory side that has scored nine goals in just two matches, and includes Uruguayan ace Bruno Fornaroli.
“They’ve had a free-flowing, goalscoring couple of games. It is our job to stop them scoring, no matter who we are against,” Brebner said.
“We have a defensive side of our game which isn’t too bad. We have players that are coming together and understanding each other.
“Collectively and defensively we are a strong team.”
Young Victory centre-back Dylan Ryan will hope for an improved performance after being cut to shreds by teenage Adelaide sensation Mohamed Toure on Saturday night.
“Dylan, playing men’s football, got a good education for the goal (by Toure),” Brebner said.
If he wants to be a top footballer, and he will be a top footballer, then he needs to come up against players like this (Fornaroli).
“His sole focus will be stopping Bruno and Andy Keogh.”
Another of the Glorys attacking weapons, skipper Diego Castro, could also make his first performance of the season after being sidelined with leg injury.
However, Glory coach Richard Garcia will err on the side of caution if Castro is in any doubt.
“He’s still on that borderline,” Garcia said.
“If Diego is coming back from injury, sometimes it’s better to give him that extra bit of time to come back.”