Kevin Muscat believes Melbourne Victory's mentality will assist his side through a persistent run of injuries.
It finally seemed as if the Big V were returning to full strength, after Keisuke Honda and Ola Toivonen entered to near-instant effect against Melbourne City last week.
But now Toivonen, who spent much of the early part of this season out injured before lighting up the league seems set to return to the sidelines. In a double-blow, new NPL revelation Elvis Kamsoba may also miss the clash with a phantom knee concern.
“There’s a chance [Ola could miss]," Muscat said.
“He’s been a little ill over the last couple of days. We’ll monitor that with the doctors and make a decision, taking everything into consideration we’ll see where he’s at.
“Elvis felt a little bit of pain in his knee. He’s receiving scans and will be in the hands of the physios this afternoon.
“[Otherwise, last week] Keisuke gets another 60-70 minutes under his belt, Donachie comes on and plays 80-odd minutes.
“Throughout the campaign [our squad] hasn’t been settled by any stretch of the imagination, so to be in the position we’re in, not wavering on how we want to perform and play, I think the boys have done really well.”
While Victory sit third and have a substantial buffer over Adelaide United in fourth, a series of draws - culminating in a 1-1 Melbourne Derby result - means they have lost ground to a resurgent Sydney FC outfit.
With six matches remaining, a title tilt against Perth Glory - to whom Muscat's side have lost both meetings this season - seems all but over.
However Victory are still poised to challenge in the Asian Champions League this season, with one of the club's priorities expanding their brand into Asia.
“I’m in the mindset of being in the ACL, having cup runs and being in a position where you’re competing for honours is not a burden,” Muscat continued..
“My mindset is [that position is] where everybody wants to be – and certainly where I want to be. To do that you need to focus on performance.
“When you narrow it down that’s where my mindset is. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s game, then the run into the [finals] and everything that comes with it.”
Before spreading their resources across the ACL later next week, Victory face a Newcastle Jets side running out of time to secure a finals berth, in Geelong - a city they've only ever won one A-League match in - coincidentally a 4-2 result against the Novocastrians.
It's a rematch of last year's Grand Final and little love will be lost, but increasingly whoever faces the Jets comes up against a side with nothing to lose.
“When you’ve got a really strong will and a really good mentality things can be achieved," Muscat said.
"Yes, there were positives in the review, but there were things we need to look at and learn from. It’s important that we look forward. Every manager will stand here and say it’s about the next game – and it is.
“But we’ll pick a team that we think gives us the best chance of being successful against Newcastle first and foremost. All my focus and thinking is on tomorrow evening in Geelong.”