James Troisi remains in doubt for Melbourne Victory’s elimination final against Wellington Phoenix. Picture: AAP
James Troisi remains in doubt for Melbourne Victory’s elimination final against Wellington Phoenix. Picture: AAP

Troisi in doubt for Victory’s finals showdown

STAR Melbourne Victory attacker James Troisi remains a 50-50 prospect at best for Friday's elimination final against Wellington Phoenix.

Meanwhile Victory coach Kevin Muscat faces one of the biggest selection calls of his coaching career, as his two shot-stoppers vie for the lead role after a month's worth of auditioning.

Back-up Matt Acton has been superb in place of Victory's long-time no.1 Lawrence Thomas, who has suffered from a strained ligament in his leg.

Muscat and keeper coach Jess van Stratten opted to err of the side of caution last week, leaving Thomas on the bench in the 1-0 win away to Western Sydney.

But Thomas trained strongly on Tuesday and would appear to be the favourite to don the gloves, by virtue of his big-game experience.

Thomas was outstanding in last season's finals series, with man-of-the-match performances in the semi-final and final - where he finished with his head bandaged en route to winning the Joe Marston medal.

Troisi trained solo for an hour on Tuesday, doing medium intensity running drills.

Goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas appears set to return from injury. Picture: Getty Images
Goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas appears set to return from injury. Picture: Getty Images

The attacker suffered a small hamstring tear in the first half of the Round 26 loss at Adelaide United.

Friday's AAMI Park encounter is just 13 days on from that injury.

Muscat and assistant Carlos Perez Salvachua will weigh up the merits of risking Troisi, while testing him in Thursday's final pre-game session.

If Victory beats Phoenix, their next A-League match would be nine days later, a semi-final encounter away to Sydney FC.

It is unlikely Troisi would travel to South Korea for the Asian Champions League clash against Daegu FC.

Victory otherwise has a clean bill of health, with the likes of Carl Valeri, Raul Baena and Terry Antonis - who've all had injury issues of late - training fully.

Star imports Ola Toivonen and Kosta Barbarouses also looked sharp, as the intensity was raised ahead of the sudden death series, with Victory again trying to create history of sorts in being the first team of the A-League era to win it from third place - although they win it from fourth last season.

Opponents Wellington - who had opted to stay in Australia as opposed to travelling all the way back to New Zealand amid the small gap between games - were due to fly to Melbourne on Monday but opted to stay in WA after the 5-0 loss against Perth Glory after finding a more suitable training venue.

News Corp Australia


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