Thompson In Contention For Derby

Melbourne Heart FC midfielder Matt Thompson remains in contention to feature in Saturday night’s Melbourne Derby despite being substituted midway through the second half of the side’s loss to Wellington Phoenix yesterday.

Melbourne Heart FC midfielder Matt Thompson remains in contention to feature in Saturday night-s Melbourne Derby despite being substituted midway through the second half of the side-s loss to Wellington Phoenix yesterday.

The four-time Socceroo picked up a knock to his left knee soon after the half-time break, forcing Head Coach John van ‘t Schip to replace him with Dutch winger Rutger Worm.

While Thompson will be subjected to a fitness test in the latter half of the week, the Club is confident the hero of the Christmas Derby will be available to resume his place as key protagonist after netting a double during Heart and Victory-s last meeting.

With the Derby match-up looming as a potentially season defining encounter, Thompson is eager to take to the park, saying Heart must arrest its current slide if it hopes to fulfil its playoff ambitions.

“Going into this year our expectation was to make the finals," Thompson said.

"When we were going through that good run when we didn't lose the expectations were higher. Things haven't gone so well in the past month but the expectations are still there.

"Looking at it now if we scrape in at six we would be disappointed. Now we would like to finish higher; looking at where we were a few weeks ago, fifth or sixth, even fourth, would have been a disappointment. The top three is something we want and feel we can get."

Should Thompson be unable to recover in time for the weekend, van ‘t Schip has a number of readymade replacements available at his disposal with Paul Reid and Wayne Srhoj performing impressively during the weekend-s National Youth League match with Gold Coast United.

Although neither Reid nor Srhoj are direct like-for-like replacements for Thompson, the duo bring a substantial amount of experience, potentially shoring up the Heart midfield.