With his side staring down the barrel of four straight losses, Archie Thompson will return from a hamstring injury for Melbourne Victory to face Newcastle on Sunday
|By DEJAN KALINIC
Melbourne Victory attacker Archie Thompson is expected to be fit for his side's clash against the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Sunday.
The 34-year-old moved freely and got through a full session on Friday after a hamstring injury had sidelined him for two matches.
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said Thompson needed to train again a day before the match, but he expects the Socceroo to take his place.
"He was moving pretty well this morning. Still (has) got a session to get through," Postecoglou said after training.
"He's pretty keen to get back amongst it. It's great to have him back in the side. He's obviously an important part of what we do, particularly here at home.
"It'll be great for our supporters to see him out there again.
"He's done everything right in terms of the rehab and in terms of the time out. This was always the plan and he's ticked all those boxes.
"We've still got one session to go. Probably the fact that it's a Sunday game helps as well but all signs are he'll be all right."
Thompson is likely to be the only change to the starting side that was handed a 6-2 thrashing by the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night, with Connor Pain likely to make way.
Postecoglou said Victory's lacklustre showing at Bluetongue Stadium was below what they expect and wants them to avoid performing so poorly again.
"From our perspective, our performance last week was nowhere near the standards that we've set," he said.
"Results can often go either way but you want to be performing at a certain level, and we didn't.
"Some of that was we met a very good side and we were very poor. When that combination happens, you get punished. We can't afford to be very poor again."
With matches against Newcastle, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Wellington to finish the regular season, Victory could go into the finals series in top form.
Postecoglou believes their form could be the difference in the finals.
"I think form going into finals is the best indicator you've got," he said.
"From our perspective, whatever's happened last week or the week before it's really important the next five weeks we hit our best form of the year.
"If we do that, on the eve of the finals, it gives us the best chance to perform well and win the competition.
"I think even if we were flying at this stage, my main focus would be to make sure we maintained it right up until the finals series.
"There's no point peaking today and not being right when the finals come around."
Postecoglou said he was unsurprised the Jets were resting attacking duo Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges due to their busy schedule.
Playmaker Marcos Flores is 'a chance' to return against the Roar as he continues his recovery from a quad strain.
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