MELBOURNE Victory were handed a derby day boost by the surprise omission of striker Archie Thompson from the Socceroos squad named by coach Holger Osieck yesterday,
Managment at Victory had expected to lose both skipper Mark Milligan and Thompson for the season opening clash against city rivals Melbourne Heart.
But they were caught on the hop when Thompson's name was missing from the 24 man squad named for next month's friendlies against France and Canada.
Victory coach Ange Postecoglou admitted was surprised - and relieved - to discover he would have Thompson available for the game.
“We were expecting both to be in it,” said Postecoglou. “It’s a little bit of a surprise Archie isn’t.
“Obviously we expected Mark (Milligan) to be there. To be honest we were planning for round one without them. It’s a massive boost to have Archie available.
“I guess (if) he has a big season for us and bangs in some goals he’ll get back to being in the national team.”
Thompson will now be available to take part in the Melbourne derby, a fixture in which he was a key figure last season.
He scored twice in the three derby games, including the dramatic injury-time winner in the Christmas derby at AAMI Park.
Postecoglou was rapt to have Archie available to select and expected fans to be just as happy.
He added: “I’m sure our supporters will be pretty pleased that he’ll be playing in the derby because he’s done pretty well in those games.”
Milligan and Brisbane Roar's Matt McKay are the only A-League players to be called up for the Socceroos games, but other key players will also be away on international duty for the opening round of the A-League.
Victory are also expected to be without Kiwi international Kosta Barbarouses, while Melbourne Heart will almost certainly lose Maltese international Michael Mifsud to national team call-ups.
“It’s disappointing but we knew when we signed him that he has commitments with the national team,” said Heart coach John Aloisi.
“He’ll be making his 100th cap in his next game so we’re not going force him to stay. It’s going be the same for a few other teams.”