Ola Toivonen is poised to make his Hyundai A-League debut for Melbourne Victory when they host Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park on Sunday night.
The Swedish FIFA World Cup star has been added to Victory’s squad at the expense of Birkan Kirdar and could be used as a weapon off the bench by Kevin Muscat during the Remembrance Round clash.
Speaking to the media before the game, Muscat said it was fantastic to see the 32-year old Toivonen getting more time in with the squad at training after overcoming a calf injury.
“He’s trained, he’s obviously got over the injury with the physios and had a good week,” Muscat said.
“He’s had a few sessions with the team and it was nice to see him out there, it was pleasing to have him amongst the group, as you can imagine he’s determined to be involved.”
While refusing to talk the big Swede up too much, Muscat did hint at what he could offer a Victory side chasing just their second win of the season.
“I’m not one to heap pressure on individuals,” he said.
“Ola first and foremost will have a responsibility to the team within a formation and a structure and I’m sure the fans will be pleased with what they see.
"And the players as well are looking forward to linking up with him as a different type of player to maybe what we’ve got at the moment.”
It has been somewhat of a slow start for Victory, who earned their first point of the season last week away against Newcastle Jets in the Grand Final rematch, a game that ended with the same 1-0 score line as May's big night.
New personnel and new tactics understandably take a while to get going but Muscat was confident that, as his midfield continues to gel, they would start to see an upturn in performance.
“It’s certainly a topic [tactics] and a point for people isn’t it,” Muscat said.
“We always said it was going to be a process and we’re building and I think it’s important we don’t get caught up in the numbers and formations, what’s imperative to us is the style of football we want to play.
“We’ve certainly been pleased with aspects of the way we’ve been playing and we’ll continue to work on those.”
“It goes without saying there is some completion in there [midfield].
“I was pleased last week under difficult weather conditions….Keisuke [Honda], Jimmy [Troisi] and Terry [Antonis] spent the most time on the ball, completed the most passes in that order so it just goes to show we’re getting the ball in areas where we’re allowing our players to express themselves.”
Victory also confirmed that Spanish midfielder Raul Baena will miss the Mariners clash after failing to recover fully from a hamstring injury.