Aloisi: Vrankovic a ready replacement for Gerhardt

Young Melbourne Heart FC defender David Vrankovic is the likely replacement for the suspended Patrick Gerhardt against Sydney FC this Sunday, and Heart Head Coach John Aloisi is confident the 19-year-old will stand up to the test.

Young Melbourne Heart FC defender David Vrankovic is the likely replacement for the suspended Patrick Gerhardt against Sydney FC this Sunday, and Heart Head Coach John Aloisi is confident the 19-year-old will stand up to the test.

Vrankovic made his senior debut for Heart in round one, when the Red and White defeated Melbourne Victory 2-1, and has featured intermittently throughout the season, registering notable performances, including Heart's last home match against Perth Glory.

While Gerhardt and experienced defender Simon Colosimo have been the first-choice defensive partnership this season, Vrankovic has been an exceptional performer when the central defensive pairing have been unavailable through suspension and injury.

Gerhardt is suspended this weekend after accumulating eight yellow cards across this season.

"David has done an excellent job when called upon and has performed well when selected in the first team," Aloisi said.

"Against Perth, he was solid and did well against Shane Smeltz alongside Patrick.

"It will be another opportunity for David to illustrate he has what it takes at the top level and I am confident in his ability.

"It will also be a great experience to come up against the likes of [Alessandro] Del Piero and Brett Emerton, so it will be a good test."