Cernak set to play against Mariners

Friday, 16 November 2012 3:50 PM

Cernak set to play against Mariners

Melbourne Victory midfielder Isaka Cernak is set to make his first appearance under Ange Postecoglou in Saturday night's clash with the Central Coast Mariners at Etihad Stadium.

Cernak, who joined Victory ahead of their 2011 AFC Champions League campaign, is a readymade replacement for Gui Finkler, who has been sidelined with a niggling a groin injury.

Postecoglou said the former Australian youth international had earned his opportunity after returning to full fitness.

"We want to give Isaka an opportunity," the Victory coach said. "We think that he'll fit our style of play, he's that kind of player.

"He'll just come in for Finkler and play the same role. Obviously we don't really want to disrupt things too much from what we've been doing so he'll just replace Gui.

"Like every week, we give somebody else an opportunity now and for all the players, it's about them trying to adapt to how we play.

"And, as we go along, we're finding out who can and who can't, so it's his opportunity tomorrow."

Postecoglou hoped Finkler would be available for Victory's following match against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium on November 24.

"He's been struggling with a groin for a couple of weeks and we got him through last week but he just hasn't trained at all this week," he added.

"We made the decision yesterday that there's no point continuing to push him along.

"We protected him against Wellington, but last week because of the nature of the game we had to keep him out there for 90 minutes so that probably didn't help him or his groin."

Victory are back in Melbourne following a famous 3-2 win over Sydney FC, while the Mariners are top of the ladder after six rounds.

"They are a very well organised, disciplined team, and they're well coached," Postecoglou said.

"Those kinds of teams are tough but it's not our toughest test, our toughest test is coming up every week.

"I think the mistake some teams are making is thinking that there are bigger weeks than others and there aren't. There are no easy games in the A-League.

"Our test this week will be the same as it was last week and the same as its going to be next week, we've got to play to the best of our ability because when we've done that we've done OK but when we haven't we've looked pretty ordinary."

Postecoglou said Qantas Socceroos striker Archie Thompson and New Zealand winger Marco Rojas had trained strongly following their return from international commitments and would be available to face Central Coast.

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