Bulls still on A-League finals charge

Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic has challenged his team to finish their inaugural A-League season strong and achieve a finals berth.

ANTE MILICIC.
ANTE MILICIC. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

With just five regular season games to play in their first A-League campaign, Macarthur FC coach Ante Milicic is challenging the Bulls to make a late charge to secure finals football.

The expansion club are fifth on the ladder after 21 games and can move as high as second with a win over Melbourne Victory on Friday, depending on Thursday's result between Melbourne City and Adelaide United.

Conversely a negative result against second-bottom Victory puts Milicic's team at risk of being overtaken by the chasing pack outside the top six in a condensed ladder where just eight points separate second and 10th.

Last Thursday's 2-1 win over Victory in Melbourne ended a five-game winless run for Macarthur and Milicic is eager for his team to repeat that performance at home on Friday.

"We always said we wanted to come into this competition and be competitive. That's been the aim for us from day one," Milicic said.

"I think that we've done that.

"However, there's still five games to go and we need to finish off the season in the correct manner."

Milicic is welcoming back experienced fullback Ivan Franjic from a calf injury while Olyroos midfielder Denis Genreau returns after serving a one-game suspension.

"We've probably been a bit inconsistent at times but now coming into the back end of the season, we've got a couple of players coming back from suspension, a couple coming back from injuries," Milicic said.

"When we've got our full complement of players available for selection ... we're a decent side."

Victory head to Sydney without Nick Ansell, who was sent off in last Sunday's 2-1 loss to Perth Glory.

Youngster William Wilson could make his A-League debut after being included in Victory's squad for the trip to Campbelltown Stadium.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Victory have won just one of their past nine matches outside Victoria, a 2-1 win over Newcastle in April.

* Spaniard Markel Susaeta scored his third goal for the Bulls in the 2-1 win over Victory last week to stand alone as Macarthur's second-highest scorer this season. Matt Derbyshire is a clear leader with 11 goals.

* Macarthur's 26 goals this season is just three more than Victory have scored, but in contrast the Bulls have only conceded 28 goals to Victory's 52.