“I’m really liking playing up there” – Kosta Barbarouses set for No.9...

“I’m really liking playing up there” – Kosta Barbarouses set for No.9 stay

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Melbourne Victory forward Kosta Barbarouses will continue playing in a more central role for the club this A-League season, he confirmed at a media conference on Wednesday. 

Barbarouses has spent Victory’s opening three games of the season playing as a striker, alongside Kenny Athiu in Rounds 1 and 2 and then Jai Ingham in Round 3.

That role has come about in Victory’s transition from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 diamond, which has so far heralded one win in three matches.

Victory defeated Newcastle Jets 1-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday, kick-starting their championship defence.

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With both Athiu and Swedish striker Ola Toivonen injured or unfit, Barbarouses formed part of a more nimble attack with Ingham.

It was unable to bring any goals on that occasion with Terry Antonis striking from midfield with 15 minutes to play.

Speaking to the media at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne, Barbarouses said he expects to remain playing centrally for the entire season, with or without Toivonen.

“That’s probably my role for the season, I think that’s where Kev (Kevin Muscat) wants me to play and I’m really liking playing up there,” the New Zealand international said.

“I’m getting more goalscoring opportunities, I’ve had a few chances in each of the three games.

“I put one in the back of the net on the weekend, obviously it was offside.

“But once the first one goes in, I think I’ll get a bit more confidence off getting that third goal.

“It should be a good year for me in that position.”

Victory will be out to back up their grand final rematch win against Jets on Sunday when they Central Coast Mariners at AAMI Park.

According to Barbarouses, Toivonen is pushing hard to be involved in game, seeking his first minutes in the A-League.

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“He’s training, he did part of the session with us today,”

“I think as a precaution, he came out and did his own stuff towards the end. He tells me he’s feeling good. I sit next to him in the locker room.

“If it’s up to him, I’m sure he’d be playing on Sunday but I don’t know what the case is, how far away he is.”

Barbarouses said Toivonen – listed as having a groin injury – should be “in the mix” for selection.

“Tomorrow he’ll join in (a full team session) … since we got back from Newcastle, we haven’t really trained in a proper session yet so tomorrow we’ll see how he is,” Barbarouses added.

“Going by what he’s telling me, he should be in the mix to be in the squad.”

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