Victory give Tigers 'utmost respect' in FFA Cup

Despite being depleted and lacking fitness, Melbourne Victory claim they've left nothing to chance as they seek to avoid a Westfield FFA Cup upset away to Balmain Tigers on Tuesday night.

The reigning Hyundai A-League champions, still in the first weeks of pre-season training, travel to New South Wales to tackle third tier opposition in the FFA Cup Round of 32.

As in last year's inaugural edition of the FFA Cup, the introduction and timing of the national knockout tournament has given Australia's biggest clubs a specific goal to work towards early in their preparations and Victory are no different.

"The competition has given our pre-season a whole different meaning," Muscat said.

"We'll go across there knowing we're going to get a difficult game … [and] with enough knowledge to pass on to the players to get the job done.

"Like every opposition, we've shown them the utmost respect. We have had someone watch them. The reports have come back.

"We want to go as deep as we possibly can. The players have understood that. The amount of information [we've given them] is an indication to them of how seriously we are taking the game.

"We want to be in the hat come the round of 16."

Head here for Melbourne Victory's official site

The Victory team that lines up against the Tigers will see plenty of changes from the side that defeated Sydney FC 3-0 in the grand final in May.

Captain Mark Milligan has left for Baniyas, while Archie Thompson, Matthieu Delpierre, Rashid Mahazi and Nick Ansell are unavailable due to illness, a lack of fitness and injury respectively. 

Carl Valeri, a candidate to replace Milligan as skipper, is suspended after being sent off in the grand final, with Muscat confirming Leigh Broxham will wear the armband on Tuesday night.

"Archie's ill," the boss said.

"Matthieu's not at a stage physically where he's available for a game. Carl's suspended. Rashid's slightly injured. We won't take any risks but we'll have a squad capable of going there and getting a result and a very strong team. 

"Nick Ansell's the only one not training."

The absence of several regular means there will be chance for some of Victory's youngsters to show what they can do, with the captain of the National Youth League, defender Thomas Deng, singled out for praise by the head coach.

"Young Thomas Deng's been outstanding, so at some point I'd like to give him an opportunity. Kieran Dover and George Howard have also been training and pushing for selection as well. 

"Those three have earned the right maybe to get an opportunity tomorrow night."

FOX SPORTS will have a full broadcast of the Match of the Day and will stream all other non-broadcast matches online at and Apple TV via FOX SPORTS Now.

*** For any goal kicked by an amateur or semi-professional club against a Hyundai A-League team during the Westfield FFA Cup, NAB will kick-back $2,500 to the goal-scorer's club.