Williams back for Victory

18 January 2018 06:20:38 EST
James Troisi

Rhys Williams is back for Melbourne Victory as they bid to continue their improvement by beating Western Sydney.

Kevin Muscat's side were eighth at the start of last month, but have rallied strongly and are now within three points of third-placed cross-town rivals Melbourne City.

Rhys is an important part of our structure and the squad so it's great to have him back.

Carl Valeri

Buoyed by last weekend's 3-2 home win over Perth Glory, Victory will include former Socceroos defender Williams when they take on Wanderers.

They now have the chance to overtake City into third spot with a win and an improved goal difference against Josep Gombau's in-form outfit at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Williams was banned from the Glory win after being sent off against Wellington Phoenix after his initial caution was controversially upgraded to red following video assistant referee intervention.

His return means stand-in centre-back Mark Milligan can shift back to midfield, and in turn Terry Antonis will move up the field to cover for the absent James Troisi.

New recruit Antonis was handed his starting place alongside Carl Valeri in the Perth win. With Troisi sitting out the Wanderers clash following his fifth booking of the season, it's likely to be the former Sydney FC ace who will replace him.

Captain Valeri said: "Rhys is an important part of our structure and the squad so it's great to have him back. We've got a lot of depth this year and the people who have filled his boots like Dino Djulbic have done a fantastic job.

"And Terry is a fantastic player, I've always liked him and it's exciting to see where he can go. Terry is a professional, he arrives just as early as I do and stays just as late."

Victory have only lost one of their last 12 meetings with Western Sydney, and are aiming to stretch their unbeaten run against them to seven games.

Victory are 21/20 to beat Western Sydney, who are 5/2 with the draw 5/2.

Victory are 10/1 to win the game 1-0.

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