Melbourne Victory veteran Leigh Broxham is looking forward to getting back a clean bill of health before the commencement of the AFC Champions League (ACL).

The latest Champions League odds show that Victory along with archrivals Sydney FC are heavy underdogs for the upcoming continental tournament.

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Victory have struggled to get a clean bill of health all season, but Broxham is hopeful captain Carl Valeri (hamstring) Jai Ingham (quad) can return soon.

The Big V are coming off a 1-1 draw to Melbourne City in the derby on Saturday night, leaving them third on the table after Round 20.

Broxham added that Victory was gelling well after the absence of key man Keisuke Honda.

“Throughout January was a bit difficult, we were pretty thin,” Broxham said.

“We had the summer of football with midweek games and it was quite difficult. Kev now has options, Champions League is starting and Jai is fully fit and Carl isn’t far away.

“Ola came on, Keisuke started and everyone is back in the mix and it’s good timing with the Champions League starting.”

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Victory fought back to draw with City on Saturday after Georg Niedermeier gave away a penalty and was sent off after just 15 minutes.

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Kosta Barbarouses then equalised in the 50th minute, but many fans on social media thought it was a drab game.

Victory had a single shot for the whole game while City had 13, but just one of their shots was on target at Lawrence Thomas’ goal.

Broxham said coach Kevin Muscat instilled the confidence in his team at half-time.

“Before the game, we ideally needed and wanted three points from the game, but after the send-off, you quickly assess it,” he said.

“To be 1-0 down and to get back in the game with 10-men, you definitely take a draw from the game.

“Musky knows how much belief is in the team and he basically just said ‘Here’s a new challenge for the team, we haven’t had something like this year. Go out and chase the game, you’ve got 50 minutes to be patient enough to be able to get our chances. We did, we took it and we defended really well.”

Victory take on Newcastle Jets in Geelong on Saturday.

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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