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Leijer straight back into side

Monday, 31 December 2012 1:46 PM
 
 

Leijer straight back into side

Melbourne Victory captain Adrian Leijer will immediately return from suspension for the side's New Year's Day clash against Western Sydney.

Leijer missed Victory's thrilling 3-2 triumph over the Newcastle Jets on Friday after picking up five yellow cards in his first 12 matches of the season.

Victory were short on defensive options for the Newcastle match – Mark Milligan was also suspended - but utility Leigh Broxham and youngster Nick Ansell acquitted themselves well against a dangerous Jets attack.

Despite Broxham's excellent performance though, Leijer will return to central defence against the in-form Wanderers.

"We get Adrian Leijer back which will help us," Victory head coach Ange Postecoglou told reporters after training at Gosch's Paddock on Monday.

"Adrian is our best defender and we need to put him back in there ... he will go back to playing centre-half.

"Leigh was fantastic and he did a great job for us and that's full credit to him. He put his hand up for it. Leigh will start on the bench tomorrow but no doubt he'll make a contribution at some point, as he has all year.

"Whenever he has been asked to do a job, he has done a good job for us. He'll push some of the other guys for a first-team spot now knowing that he can do a job down back as well."

Victory's win over the Jets – their sixth from their last nine matches – came thanks to a pair of outstanding strikes from young gun Marco Rojas, and an Archie Thompson goal.

Rojas' future has been the subject of much debate this week, with the 21-year-old displaying the sort of form that would make him a very attractive proposition for clubs abroad.

Postecoglou remained tight-lipped on the future of Rojas, but said that his contract situation 'doesn't keep me awake at night'.

"I'm comfortable with where we are at," said Postecoglou.

"He has had a decent start to the year and he is scoring some cracking goals and playing well. Will he go overseas? I'm sure he will at some stage.

"I'd love him to stay another year and hopefully keep developing him but right now, Western Sydney is the most important thing for us."

The Victory boss knows defeating the Wanderers will be a tough ask, with Tony Popovic's side unbeaten in four matches, of which three have been wins.

And although key midfielder Aaron Mooy is suspended for Western Sydney, after resting six players in a 1-1 draw against Perth on Thursday, they will be fresh and hungry to avenge their 2-0 home defeat to Victory in November.

"They had a trip over to Perth which is always a tough trip with a short turnaround," he said.

"So it probably made sense to drop a few or leave a few out. The guys who came in, did a good job for them. It didn't really affect their performance. We expect them to be strong tomorrow."

 
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