Postecoglou: Fit-again Milligan will start against Adelaide

The skipper has made a lightning comeback from what had appeared a serious flare-up of his on-going knee problem, prompting an immediate return to the first XI
Ange Postecoglou says Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan is set to start against Adelaide United on Friday after recovering quickly from his latest bout of knee trouble.

The midfielder checked in with the Socceroos squad in Paris but quickly returned to Melbourne after being deemed unfit even to train with the national team due to an on-going knee issue.

Having slammed the wasted trip to Europe, Postecoglou on Saturday raised the possibility of surgery being required to address the problem.

But the skipper has responded well to treatment this week, and will replace Rashid Mahazi in the starting line-up at Coopers Stadium.

"I'm pleased that we got him back on Saturday," Postecoglou said.

"I think if he had stayed he wouldn't have played against Canada anyway … but he definitely wouldn't have been in shape for Friday so the fact we got him back early means he is likely to start."

New Zealand international Kosta Barbarouses is also set to be in the squad for Friday's match, flying in directly from Trinidad and Tobago after playing the full 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw for the All Whites.

However, Victory are set to be without the services of Chilean Pablo Contreras after the marquee defender picked up a two-game ban from the match review panel for a stray elbow in the derby.

Postecoglou admitted the action, which was overlooked by referee Peter Green, probably only deserved a yellow card and is disappointed with the punishment handed down.

"For me we want our best players out there every week but he's learnt his lesson as well now, he's played the price for his actions," said Postecoglou.

"I think now he's got a clear understanding of how we look at the game here, but it's not like he's going around trying to assassinate people his whole career."

Despite the ban he has received, Postecoglou was impressed with the Chilean's competitive debut for the navy blues.

"He looked really comfortable as we expected," said the former Brisbane coach.

"At the start of the season you're looking for a bit of continuity and a little bit of cohesion and [the ban] kind of disrupts it."

Speaking at a press conference dominated by speculation over the vacant Socceroos coaching role, Postecoglou was adamant he is still focused on his job at the Victory.

One of the favourites for the national team role vacated by Holger Osieck, Postecoglou was left frustrated by a determined Melbourne Heart side in the season opener at Etihad Stadium last weekend.

After the goal-less draw against their local rivals, Postecoglou remarked that his side seemed to lack flow on what was a dull night for both sets of fans.

"I thought some of our play was really good," he said.

"We just lacked a cutting edge and that's something that we need to fix."

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