Muscat: Victory targeting new signings
Victory eased into the FFA Cup Round of 16 with a 2-0 win away to Bayswater City on Wednesday, which saw new recruits Besart Berisha, Carl Valeri and Mathieu Delpierre all make their competitive debuts.
The trio have arrived to fill the voids left by James Troisi, Tom Rogic and Pablo Contreras respectively, while left-back Adama Traore has also departed.
Muscat was relatively content with his side's performance on Wednesday, summing it up by saying they "just did enough".
Victory still have one visa spot available and Muscat revealed post-match the club were far from settled on their squad with more than seven weeks still until the A-League kick-off.
“We’re still active (in the transfer market),” Muscat said.
“We still want to improve the squad. There’s opportunities to do so.”
However, the 46-time Socceroos defender refused to be drawn on identifying the areas he was looking to strengthen, although he said international commitments during the 2014-15 season would affect the recruitment strategy.
“Different things come up and we’ve highlighted a few areas in the team where we need to get some more competition in,” Muscat said.
“We need to take into consideration the number of players going away on international duty throughout the year.
“There’s a couple of areas but I don’t want to go into too much detail because things can change from time to time.
“There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes trying to improve the squad.”
Victory are likely to lose skipper Mark Milligan during the 2015 Asian Cup, as well as Socceroos' friendlies against UAE and Qatar in mid-October and a mooted friendly in November. Nathan Coe, Carl Valeri and Archie Thompson could also come under consideration.
Teenage full-back Scott Galloway, who played a full game against Bayswater, is unlikely to be available throughout October, away with the Young Socceroos at the AFC Under-19 Championships in Myanmar.
Kosta Barbarouses may also miss games due to New Zealand selection, with friendlies already scheduled against China and Malaysia in mid-November.
Meanwhile, Muscat was pleased with the competitive debuts of all three of his new trio.
“They’ve been improving,” he said. “Big Mathieu (Delpierre) wasn’t really challenged defensively but all of his work with the ball was clean and crisp. He’s slowly getting better.
“Carl Valeri did a decent shift for us tonight. It’s good to have a meaningful competitive game during pre-season.
“(Berisha) in the front third looked very dangerous. The two goals we scored were good goals.”
Muscat also said Socceroos midfielder Milligan was well placed to be fully fit for the start of the A-League campaign after an interrupted off-season.
Milligan suffered a hamstring injury at the 2014 World Cup and has undergone a delayed pre-season fitness regime as a result.
“He’s exactly where we want to him to be at the moment,” Muscat said. “He’s got half an hour tonight under his belt so he’s coming along really good.”
Muscat refused to nominate a preferred Round of 16 opponent, but with four Victorian clubs entering Friday’s draw, he hoped for a fixture without too much travel.
“Hopefully we get drawn a little bit closer to home,” he said.