United face tough task in Victoria

Canberra heads to Victoria this weekend to battle Melbourne Victory in Round 5 of the Westfield W-League.

Canberra United heads to Melbourne this weekend for Round Five of the Westfield W-League knowing that they face a tough assignment in a state in which they have not won since the inaugural meeting of the sides back in November 2008.

And, to make matters that much harder, United-s squad has been hit by a plethora of injuries and unavailability meaning that Head Coach Jitka Klimkova must shuffle her pack in what could be one of the defining matches of the season.

Captain Ellie Brush will sit out the fixture due to suspension, having been dismissed in stoppage time as Canberra drew 1-1 at Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, and she will be joined on the side-line by Sally Shipard and Michelle Heyman who are unavailable for selection due to the agreement with the Matildas over their availability for the World Club Championship next week.

Winger Hayley Raso is unavailable and goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold is still struggling with a quad injury whilst striker Ashleigh Sykes is a major doubt having injured her hip in the first-half against Western Sydney. That leaves just fifteen fit players for Klimkova to select from including goalkeeper Aroon Clansey who was drafted into the squad last week as cover for Arnold.

Melbourne meanwhile heads into the fixture on a high having defeated Sydney FC 2-1 in a tight and enthralling match at Leichhardt Oval. The Victory girls have been in good form this season and the inclusion of Wales international captain Jessica Fishlock and Swede Petra Larsson has more than made up for the absence of Ashley Brown and Louisa Bisby whose season-s were curtailed by ACL injuries before they had really begun. Fishlock is the reigning FA Women-s Super League player of the season and came off the bench in Sydney to help her team to an historic win, their first over the Sky Blues.

Canberra meanwhile heads into the match in an 18-game unbeaten run stretching back to Round 10 In 2011 but have usually struggled to find form in Melbourne. Last season-s 1-1 draw, salvaged by a late goal from Heyman, was only the second goal the club has scored in four matches in Victoria, the other being Sasha McDonnell-s Season One match-winner. The other two games played away to Melbourne ended in narrow 0-1 defeats. And, whilst Canberra-s home record against Victory is much better featuring three wins and a draw from four matches, there has never been much between the teams.

With a taxing set of fixtures ahead of them United must be on their game to keep up ground on league leaders Perth Glory. Canberra currently trails Perth by a point but with a two-match trip to Japan commencing on Monday followed by three games in a week upon their return against Sydney FC (away), Perth Glory (home) and Newcastle Jets (home), points against Melbourne this weekend could well be critical.

Canberra United Squad to play Melbourne Victory Saturday 17th November 2012 (Wembley Park, Box Hill)

20. Trudy Burke, 2. Caitlin Cooper, 3. Georgia Yeoman-Dale, 4. Christine Walters, 5. Grace Field, 6. Caitlin Munoz, 9. Grace Gill, 10. Snez Veljanovska, 12. Sally Rojahn, 13. Nicole Sykes, 16. Catherine Brown, 17. Ariane Hingst, 18. Samantha Wood, 19. Jennifer Bisset, 22. Aroon Clansey

Unavailable: 1. Mackenzie Arnold (injured), 7. Ellie Brush (suspended), 8. Hayley Raso (school), 11. Michelle Heyman (Matildas agreement), 14. Ashleigh Sykes (injured), 15. Sally Shipard (Matildas agreement)