A-League Preview: Berisha crucial for Milligan-less Victory
Victory will take on Melbourne City in round 11 of the A-League on Saturday looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the Australian domestic league, although captain Milligan will be unavailable after receiving a three-match ban on Tuesday.
Milligan was suspended by the A-League's Match Review Panel for a wayward elbow to the head of Terry Antonis during Victory's 3-3 draw with Sydney FC on Saturday.
Since the versatile midfielder joined Victory during the 2011-12 season, the Melbourne-based club have won 59 per cent of games with Milligan in the line-up, while that statistic has dropped to just 29 when he has been absent.
As Victory look to maintain the pressure on leaders Perth Glory over the next three weeks, coach Kevin Muscat will have to find a way to pick up points without Milligan and utilising striker Besart Berisha more may be critical.
Berisha has scored six goals in nine league matches since joining Victory from reigning champions Brisbane Roar but four of them came in his first three games, including a hat-trick against City in round three.
After the treble, Berisha injured his groin in an FFA Cup fixture and missed Victory's next league game, while the Albanian forward has appeared less involved since.
In his first three games in navy blue, Berisha averaged over 42 touches per game, while in his six appearances since, he only averages 30.
Victory will enter their derby with City 13 points ahead of their local rivals, while John van 't Schip's men have only won one of their past four games, although that did come last week.
City defeated Roar 1-0 at home and will hope they can carry some momentum into Saturday's clash.
If Victory win they will join Perth on 25 points and edge ahead on goal difference before Glory host Central Coast Mariners in Saturday's later game.
The Mariners are winless in 10 games in all competitions and should provide Perth with the ideal opportunity to bounce back from their 1-0 FFA Cup final loss to Adelaide United on Tuesday.
Glory have won their past seven at home in the A-League and have scored two or more goals in all five matches at nib Stadium this term.
Adelaide will look to build on picking up their first piece of major silverware since the 2005-06 Premiership when they visit second-bottom Newcastle Jets on Friday, while Sydney FC will face Wellington Phoenix in the final match of the weekend on Sunday.
Brisbane Roar's clash with Western Sydney Wanderers has been postponed due to the latter's FIFA Club World Cup commitments.