Socceroo Valeri ready to take lead at Victory

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Carl Valeri of Victory and Osama Malik of Adelaide contest the ball during the FFA Cup Quarter Final match between the Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United at AAMI Park on September 22, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Carl Valeri of Victory and Osama Malik of Adelaide contest the ball during the FFA Cup Quarter Final match between the Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United at AAMI Park on September 22, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images) Robert Prezioso

Socceroo Carl Valeri will have big boots to fill when he captains Melbourne Victory against Adelaide United in the blockbuster A-League clash at Adelaide Oval tonight.

Valeri takes over from Mark Milligan, who took up a deal with Abu Dhabi club Baniyas in the off-season. Milligan led the team to an A-League championship last summer, but the tough-tackling midfielder Valeri also played a key role in that title triumph.

New signings Oliver Bozanic, Danny Vukovic, George Howard and Thomas Deng have all been included in the Victory squad against the Reds.

Goalkeeper Vukovic will make his 228th A-League appearance, equalling John Hutchinson as the competition's record holder.

Kosta Barbarouses is in line to make his 50th league appearance for the Melbourne club.

Youth team midfielder Stefan Nigro has also been picked for the trip to South Australia. Of the Victory's absentees, Jason Geria, Scott Galloway, Connor Pain and Giancarlo Gallifuoco are away with the Olyroos, while Nick Ansell (foot) and Archie Thompson (knee) are injured.

The A-League premier and champion is unbeaten in its past seven A-League games against Adelaide, and accounted for the Reds in the FFA Cup quarter-finals last month.

United, on the other hand, is undefeated in its past seven A-League matches at home against the Victory, and has won its opening game of the season for the past three years.



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