‘Don’t rule me out of Melbourne Derby’: Deng
Socceroos-capped defender Tommy Deng has vowed to do everything he can to be fit for Saturday's season-defining Melbourne derby, despite his coach Marco Kurz virtually ruling him out.
Melbourne City have never been shorter-priced favourites for a Melbourne derby, entering the AAMI Park face-off at $1.95 according to TAB after mauling Newcastle Jets 4-0 to rise to second, opening up a 10-point gap on Victory, which is a $3.80 outsider.
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Deng's absence has been felt since he tore his groin, compounded by the absence of German defender Tim Hoogland after the 3-1 loss away to Adelaide United three weeks ago.
Melbourne City midfielder Denis Genreau is awaiting scan results after falling awkwardly away to Newcastle Jets, while Rostyn Griffiths (ill) should return after his late withdrawal.
Deng is desperate help his side arrest their slump, in what would be his last Victory game before departing for the Olyroos' Tokyo 2020 qualifiers, with Victory having the bye in Round 12.
"We'll see. I'm almost back, at around 80 per cent, see if I can (get) in contention for (derby) selection," Deng said.
"I did it in training, groin injury, slight tear after Adelaide. A lot of travel and all those kind of things come (into it). It's tough, but what can you do? It's part of football.
"Nothing too serious. Physios are looking after me, getting confident, feeling strong to come back.
"It's a bit frustrating watching the boys from the stands, I'd love to contribute a bit more, try help the boys as much as I can."
Victory captain Ola Toivonen declared Saturday would be a scrap in light of their form.
"It's going to be a battle," Toivonen said.
"Big game for us. And for City too. Recover now, have a good week of training and be ready for it."
Deng said a win would provide struggling Victory with a timely shot in the arm, after managing just two wins in 20 games.
"It's not the way we wanted to start the season. It's a but tough at the moment, trying to string two (wins) together," Deng said.
"We've got the derby, City's doing really well. For us it's a really important time to get a good win against them. It's a massive game, big for our fans. If we can get a win, we can turn around our season and get a bit more confidence."