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Victory's riches up against stricken Jets

AAP logoAAP 25/11/2016 Ben McKay

There's more talent in the Newcastle Jets treatment ward than at coach Mark Jones' disposal for Saturday's trip to AAMI Park, but Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has vowed not to underestimate their deflated A-League opponents.

The Jets head to Melbourne in the middle of a barely-precedented injury crisis and without a win in five games.

In contrast, Muscat is having sleepless nights on how to stack his team with all of its attacking talents.

Running through the list of his wide options, Muscat concluded there would be players unlucky to miss out, especially given red-hot Marco Rojas' return from international duty.

"Mitch Austin's start to the season has been exceptional," he said.

"Fahid (Ben Khalfallah) has shown glimpses in his last game. Good glimpses.

"Jai (Ingham) comes off the bench (against Western Sydney) and has an unbelievable impact on the game, sets one up after scoring one.

"And then Maxi who's joined us comes on and scores as well.

"It's what you want. It's got to be healthy, competition, and decisions will be made on what's best for the team."

He said he expected no sulking from those outside the 11 or the squad of 16.

"It comes down to the individual: do they put the team first or think of themselves first?" he said.

"It's a simple yes or no. Successful teams have got all the players that put the team first (and) I'm pretty sure that's what we've got."

Victory are coming off a 14-day break after the New Zealand earthquake rescheduled their away trip to face Wellington.

Muscat said they spent their week off tinkering rather than toiling, "more so on some structural stuff than physical stuff".

Newcastle boss Mark Jones has endured another week of injury pain, losing two more bodies in their F3 derby draw.

The Jets injury list, which includes ex-Victory man Andrew Nabbout, captain Nigel Boogaard, import Aleksandr Kokko, first-choice goalkeeper Ben Kennedy, is the worst in the league.

Victory will miss just back-up striker George Howard and left-back Daniel Georgievski.

Despite the chasm in their availability list, Muscat said his team didn't expect to coast to three points.

"They've had some very good results so far this season," he said.

"There's a certain unpredictability about them. They're capable.

"If we perform well, the result will look after itself. If we don't then we're relying on luck or decisions or other things."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Goals don't come easily in this fixture. Four of the last five meetings have finished 1-0.

* But Victory are in goalscoring form, netting 12 times in their last four.

* Newcastle winger Andrew Hoole is enjoying a purple patch, creating 18 chances this season; more than any other player and double that of any Victory man.

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