A STAR-STUDDED Melbourne Victory line-up featuring Socceroos Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri will grace Ballarat on Tuesday.
With the A-League heavyweight in the midst of a rigorous pre-season campaign, Victory manager Kevin Muscat plans to bring a full squad for a friendly against Ballarat Red Devils at Morshead Park.
“Everyone’s coming and we’re looking forward to it,” Muscat told The Courier.
“They (the players) will be feeling fatigued and grumpy over the next few weeks (but) we want some time in the community and they’re looking forward to getting out there.”
Milligan and Valeri were confirmed as part of Ange Postecoglou’s 20-strong Socceroos squad for the 2015 Asian Cup on Thursday.
Several other big names also impressed in Victory’s 2-0 FFA Cup triumph over Bayswater City earlier this week.
Kosta Barbarouses and Archie Thompson both found the back of the net, while marquee recruits Besart Berisha and Matthieu Delpierre look to be hitting peak form, mounting the case for an exciting showdown against the Reds.
Victory’s appearance in Ballarat is the first of a series of country stops as part of a regional roadshow.
Other regional trips include Bendigo, Traralgon, Geelong and Shepparton before the A-League kicks off on October 10.
Victory is the second A-League outfit scheduled for a pre-season hit-out at Morshead Park, with cross-town rival Melbourne City facing the Reds back in June.
Ballarat Red Devils chairman Duncan Smith is hoping 2000-3000 spectators make the trip to admire what he describes as “statistically, the strongest club in the A-League”.
“The pitch looks fantastic and a lot of hard work goes into getting an A-League club (and) we’ve had two this year,” he said.
Muscat also made reference to the redeveloped facility, saying his players were excited to run out onto the “quality” pitch.
“We make a point of it (visiting regional areas) every year,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to mingling with the community and spreading the Victory gospel.”
Full squad for friendly, page 146