Fred Named In Extended Squad

Melbourne Heart FC captain Fred has been named in an extended 17-man squad to face the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Melbourne Heart FC captain Fred has been named in an extended 17-man squad to face the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Brazilian has been out of action for over month after suffering a groin strain during Heart-s 1-1 draw with Gold Coast United on January 8.

While the former DC United star has trained strongly for the past week, the Heart coaching team is reticent to immediately thrust Fred back into the starting line-up, and instead, will likely err on the side of caution by nursing him to match fitness via a cameo appearance off the bench.

Fred, 32, has been arguably Heart-s most influential contributor this season, with his metronomic consistency and boundless energy helping ignite the side-s mid-season finals charge.

Offering the perfect blend of guile and grit, Fred-s tireless work ethic belies his sublime touch and slight of foot, making him the archetype of the ideal Hyundai A-League midfielder.

Fred-s return will provide with head coach John van ‘t Schip with a welcome selection dilemma as the Dutchman looks to reintroduce the Belo Horizonte-native into the fray, while rewarding his side-s impressive performance in the Melbourne Derby.

Midfielder Kristian Sarkies continued his evolution into an elite holding midfielder with another assured display in the centre of the park, spraying passes across the park with aplomb and trademark accuracy, while also forcing Victory-s Ante Covic into an acrobatic save from a free kick.

Sarkies has perfectly demonstrated the significant depth in Heart-s squad since his first team call-up in early January, scoring twice in six appearances to emerge as arguably the Red and White-s leading performer over the past month.

Fellow midfielders Jonatan Germano and Wayne Srhoj complimented Sarkies- Derby contribution with influential performances further up the park, as they sought to unlock the Victory rearguard and craft opportunities for the likes of Eli Babalj and Alex Terra.

On the injury front, Matt Thompson remains at least a fortnight away from returning to Hyundai A-League action despite making significant strides on the comeback trail.

Thompson has commenced straight line running as part of a modified schedule, and is set to play a further role in training during the coming days.

Melbourne Heart FC Squad v Newcastle Jets

1.Clint Bolton (GK), 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill, 4.Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (C), 7.Rutger Worm, 8.Kristian Sarkies, 9.Maycon, 10.Wayne Srhoj, 11.Alex Terra, 13.Jonatan Germano, 15.David Williams, 18.Curtis Good, 19.Eli Babalj, 26.Paul Reid, 27.Craig Goodwin, 30.Sebastian Mattei (GK) *two to be omitted*

In: Fred (returns from injury), Maycon (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Nick Kalmar (back - 1 week), Matt Thompson (knee 2-3 weeks)