Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins has challenged his squad to grab nine points in the space of a week and solidify their hopes of a A-League Women finals spot.
After Friday’s 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix, the Victory face a congested schedule whereby they travel to Newcastle on Tuesday to take on the Jets before facing Western Sydney at home on Saturday.
Three games in a week aren’t all that common in the ALW, but Victory have been forced to play catch-up after missing large chunks of fixtures due to COVID-19 infections.
Hopkins has called on his side, who sit fourth with 15 points and with two games in hand, to take control of their own destiny.
“What we’ve seen is now we have an opportunity to grab nine points in a week,” he said.
“That would be vital for us right now. We’ve played Wellington, play Newcastle and then have a game against Western Sydney.
“It’s a tough schedule but it’s somewhere we can get a lot of points in a short period of time.
“It will be physically demanding and we’ll have to have a bit of sacrifice during this period, but in one week’s time we could control our place in that second or third place and put a nice comfortable gap between ourselves and sixth place.”
Hopkins will be able to call upon Matildas duo Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin after both players returned from Australia’s underwhelming Asian Cup campaign.
Neither player featured in the knockout stage loss to South Korea, but Hopkins said he expected that both players would play with a point to prove.
“I think everyone was expecting Kyra, especially, to be involved a bit more,” he said.
“She’s been disappointed obviously for the team but also for herself.
“We’ve had a chat and she’s keen to get back playing and she needs to be the best player in our team but also the league.
“The same applies for Courtney. They both came to me and said they wanted to get back playing (straight away).”
The full A-League Women’s schedule can be found using this link.