Victory bank on ALM support in return home

Melbourne Victory are hoping for a big crowd in their first home game of the ALM season.
Melbourne Victory are hoping for a big crowd in their first home game of the ALM season.

Melbourne Victory will draw on the support of a reinvigorated fanbase as they attempt to continue their positive start to life under Tony Popovic in the A-League Men clash with Brisbane Roar.

New-look Victory are unbeaten in two games, opening the ALM campaign with a 1-0 triumph over Western United before fielding a youthful line-up in the mid-week FFA Cup play-off win against Perth Glory.

They return to AAMI Park for their first home game of the season full of confidence and are expecting a large crowd to mark the occasion after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.

More than 20,000 members have signed up in a tick of approval for new coach Popovic and his off-season recruiting drive, which netted a dozen fresh faces.

"We'd love to make (AAMI Park) a fortress but we have to earn that," Popovic said.

"We have to deliver the performances and the results to turn it into what we want it to become.

"That doesn't just happen overnight or with words, but we're working very hard to try and make that possible.

"I'm sure (the supporters) will get behind their team and they need to see the same application, attitude and desire they saw last week in Geelong (against Western United).

"Hopefully we can improve little areas in our performance to get the points."

Brisbane narrowly missed sharing the points with Melbourne City in their ALM season opener last week and face another tough travel schedule, due to land in Melbourne just hours before Sunday's kick-off against Victory.

It comes amid tight travel restrictions imposed by Queensland authorities to allow Warren Moon's side to make the return trip across state borders without quarantining.

"They're a dangerous team and they played a good game against Melbourne City," Popovic said.

"They were playing the champions and in the second half you could see the quality and potential that they have in their squad.

"We anticipate a real tough encounter."

Popovic will make a late call on whether new Victory captain Josh Brillante makes his first competitive appearance for the club after a hamstring injury in pre-season, while striker Chris Ikonomidis is battling a thigh complaint.

"We'd love to have them both but we have to tread carefully and not take unnecessary risks," Popovic said.

Vice-captain Roderick Miranda, who scored the second-half winner against Western United, will wear the armband again if Brillante is ruled out.

Australian Associated Press