Thompson set for 200 club

Melbourne Heart FC vice captain Matt Thompson is set to become the first player in Hyundai A-League history to record 200 appearances, if selected for Heart’s Round 24 match against Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Monday 11 March.

Melbourne Heart FC vice captain Matt Thompson is set to become the first player in Hyundai A-League history to record 200 appearances, if selected for Heart-s Round 24 match against Adelaide United at AAMI Park on Monday 11 March.

Thompson has featured in all 23 of Heart-s matches this campaign and has currently made 199 overall appearances in an A-League career spanning two clubs and eight seasons.

However, while Thompson welcomes the achievement, his focus is firmly on helping the Red and White's tilt for finals football in the side's next match against Adelaide United.

“It-s obviously not a bad milestone for myself; I-ve been pretty lucky in terms of injuries… I-m sure there are players out there who have been unlucky with injuries and they would be up there as well,” Thompson said.

“More importantly, we need the three points and hopefully we can get that job done.”

While the 30-year-old-s professional career in the A-League spans 121 matches for the Newcastle Jets and 78 for the Red and White, he still believes he has plenty to offer the competition.

“To be honest, I seem to think I could go for another four to five years,” Thompson said.

“I look after myself and I-m always available for selection which is the most important thing, like I said before, [I've been] injury-free - touch wood - for the last couple of years which is a great thing.

“I always put my hand up to play and I don-t see that changing over the next four to five years.”

Thompson said he had evolved as as player since joining from Newcastle Jets, as he shifted from a versatile number 10 to a more defined leadership role in defensive midfield under former Head Coach John Van't Schip.

“Ever since I-ve come to Melbourne here, that first year was a big jump for me with JVS being here and I took a lot from the first year obviously in that new position as well, I had to grow up a little bit quicker,” Thompson said.

“But that was the best thing that could have happened to me and it was a fantastic time for me in that first year - [it was] just a new challenge.”

The next challenge for Thompson is for his team to claim two wins at its next home matches at AAMI Park in the space of four days under new Head Coach John Aloisi.

“I think we just have to worry about this week," Thompson said.

“If we get the points against Adelaide, which I really do think we can, it going to have to be a massive performance against Western Sydney who are no doubt one of the best - if not the best side - in the competition.

“So the next couple of weeks are vitally important.”

Most Hyundai A-League Appearances (Top 5) M Thompson (Newcastle Jets/Heart) 199 T Dodd (Adelaide/Perth) 182 C Bolton (Sydney/Heart) 178 D Vukovic (Mariners/Wellington/Perth Glory) 175 A Wilkinson (Mariners) 172

Player Details Matt Thompson Number: 8 DOB: 18 August 1982 (Age 30) Weight: 71kgs Height: 178cms HAL Appearances (Jets / Heart): 121 / 78