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A-League Victory, City expected to challenge in tight race

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is optimistic about his team's chances in what shapes as an even A-League season.

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Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat is optimistic about his team's chances in what shapes as an even A-League season.

Victory get the season underway when they visit Brisbane Roar, another side fancied to challenge, on Friday.

Numerous attacking signings, including the arrival of Australia great Tim Cahill at Melbourne City, are set to mean plenty of goals.

Muscat said little would change from his team, despite welcoming the likes of Socceroo James Troisi and New Zealand international Marco Rojas into his squad.

"Naturally, we're very confident," he said on Thursday.

"We won't take a backward step, we want to dominate, we want to get at teams, we want to be exciting, certainly here at home.

"That's what's become expected from a Melbourne Victory team by a great member base so that won't change.

"I'm confident we'll be challenging and no doubt like everyone else at this time of year we want to win everything."

City, who have welcomed Cahill to join Uruguayan star Bruno Fornaroli up front but seen Aaron Mooy leave, are expected to finally challenge for A-League silverware.

Defending champions Adelaide United have seen numerous changes to their squad – including adding Sergi Guardiola on loan from Granada.

An injury to star playmaker Marcelo Carrusca, who will miss the start of the season, is a blow to Guillermo Amor's men.

Despite more off-field woes, John Aloisi's Roar are considered by some as contenders, while Perth Glory and Sydney FC have also assembled decent squads.

The Western Sydney Wanderers will be hoping to go one better after their grand final loss last season and open the campaign with a derby clash against the Sky Blues.

With Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses having joined after successful stints at Victory, Wellington Phoenix may surprise.

At the other end of expectations, the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners are likely to struggle.

Mark Jones only took over at the Jets in late September, while Paul Okon has a big task ahead of him at the Mariners.

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