Vrankovic relishing defensive challenge

While teenage centre back David Vrankovic has labelled this afternoon’s match against Brisbane Roar as “do-or-die”, the 19-year-old admits he has relished the challenge to mature at Melbourne Heart FC this season.

Heart's David Vrankovic (R) applies pressure to Sydney FC's Alessandro Del Piero

While teenage centre back David Vrankovic has labelled this afternoon-s match against Brisbane Roar as “do-or-die”, the 19-year-old admits he has relished the challenge to mature at Melbourne Heart FC this season.

In the absence of regular central defensive pairing Simon Colosimo (suspended) and Patrick Gerhardt (international duty), Vrankovic is likely to pair with Jamie Coyne in central defence for the Red and White this afternoon.

Heart-s finals hopes remain alive but three points is vital against the Roar today and Vrankovic hopes his contribution will assist Heart-s chances.

Tasked with keeping the likes of Bersart Berisha and Henrique quiet, he is focussed on the job at hand.

“The focus is taking all three points; it-s do or die,” Vrankovic said.

“We-ve got two games left and if we win both we-re a very good chance of making the top six.”

Since making his debut - a brief appearance in Round 1 against Melbourne Victory - Vrankovic has been pleased with his involvement in his first season as a Heart player.

“This season has been a success for me, personally,” Vrankovic said.

“Coming into the season I wasn-t expecting to play at all because we had Simon and Patrick and Stevie Gray in front of me.

“I was actually just looking forward to debuting, but so far I have started seven games this season.

Vrankovic has featured in 12 matches - seven starts and five appearances off the bench - including challenging assignments against the likes of Sydney FC-s Alessandro Del Piero.

“I thought I-ve played fairly well in the amount of games I have played,” Vrankovic said.

“I started off a bit shaky because I wasn-t used to the league, but then with the help of Patrick, Simon, JA and Foxy I sort of adapted to the league and I-ve come better in the end."

While yet to face the Roar, Vrankovic will help make up a new-look defensive unit this afternoon, which includes fellow teenager Jeremy Walker, National Youth League left-back Sam Mitchinson and Coyne.

“We-ve worked all week and we-ve gelled so far,” Vrankovic said.

“We have defended well and didn-t cop many goals in training and we-ve just got follow instructions from JA and Foxy and we should do well.”