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Victory restore Leijer for Glory clash

January 01, 2015 09:52:37 UK

Adrian Leijer returns to face Perth Glory on Friday.

Melbourne Victory have restored Adrian Leijer to their side for Friday’s showdown with leaders Perth Glory in Geelong.

Leijer was dropped by coach Kevin Muscat for last weekend’s 1-0 home win over Newcastle Jets.

The win at AAMI Park, combined with Perth being held by Melbourne City the previous day at the same venue, left Victory just four points behind the Glory, who are 3.60 to win the Grand Final.

They’ve got the most points so they’re the best team in the competition. We’re going to have to play well to beat them.

Kevin Muscat

Muscat used Leigh Broxham in the centre of defence against Newcastle, but will push him up into central midfield alongside Carl Valeri for the Perth clash.

Victory are 2.05 to beat the Glory who are 3.40 with the draw 3.50.

Leijer will play in central defence with Broxham filling the gap in midfield created by Rashid Mahazi’s injury in the Jets game.

Mahazi and defender Daniel Georgievski could be available for the away match against Western Sydney Wanderers on Tuesday, the last game before the A-League breaks for the Asian Cup.

“Realistically we’re not going to take any risks with them, albeit they’re very, very close,” Muscat said of Mahazi and Georgievski. “(They’re) just a little bit short for this one.”

With Perth having won nine of their first 12 games, Muscat is fully expecting a hard match at Simonds Stadium.

“They’ve been top of the table for 90 percent of the campaign so far,” said the Victory coach.

“There’s no doubt in my mind they’re a good team. They’ve got the most points so they’re the best team in the competition. We’re going to have to play well to beat them.”

The heat could prove a big factor in Friday’s game, with temperatures expected to reach 36 degrees.

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