Muscat leaves FFA Cup door open for Honda


A successful first training session for Melbourne Victory marquee star Keisuke Honda has kept the door open for the former AC Milan player to make his debut for the club when they take on APIA Leichhardt in Sydney on Tuesday.

Muscat refused to reveal whether the Japanese playmaker would travel to Sydney for the clash but did admit he would not be starting if named in the match day squad. 

The FFA Cup round of 16 match will be played at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney’s inner-west with the visiting Victory heavy favourites to triumph against their NSW NPL opposition. 

Fitness and injury concerns are set to play a big factor in the squad Muscat will name for the match with former Stuttgart centre-back Georg Niedermeier and returning defender Nick Ansell restricted to light training duties. 

Muscat said if any of Honda, Niedermeier or Ansell were to play it would only be off the bench. 

"It hasn't been finalised, but what I will say is Nick Ansell, Keisuke and Georg Niedermeier have trained in the last week, not all with the team so we will assess how they've all pulled up and make a final decision in relation to travelling," Muscat said. 

"They've been on a bit of a different program obviously joining at different times so you have got to respect the individuals bodies. They've trained well, they're all feeling fine.

“We have got to decide whether they have enough in them to travel and participate in a meaningful game of football."

Honda arrived in Melbourne last week and Muscat said he has been very impressed with how easily he has fit into the team environment in such a short time.

"I think the biggest compliment I could pay him and the whole situation is it's been very, very normal," Muscat said. 

"What I expected in my conversations in dealing with him is he has fitted in really well with the group, along with the other signings."