Popovic laments 'heavy' invasion sanctions

Coach Tony Popovic hopes to see Melbourne Victory fans return to filling the terraces as the club comes to grips with league-imposed sanctions.

Football Australia this week fined Victory $550,000 over last month's violent pitch invasion during their A-League Men derby with Melbourne City.

Victory fans are banned from the northern end active supporter area for the rest of the campaign and the club will play the next three-and-a-half seasons with the threat of a 10-point sanction if any more violent incidents take place.

The four-time ALM champions have accepted the punishment and stated they will disband their active supporter group

"They are heavy implications ... financially, they're very heavy on our football club," Popovic said.

"Obviously it's been a heavy period for everyone involved in the club. It's been difficult for players, for fans, for the staff, everyone here.

"It's a heavy price to pay for the club but we understand our responsibility for football. No one's shirked away from that."

Football Australia has handed out 17 bans to supporters who charged the pitch during the December 17 game.

Popovic condemned the invasion but noted it only involved a minority of supporters.

"We don't want them in our game," he said.

"But we want to see that north and south end filled again with passionate fans, our fans that love Melbourne Victory.

"They want to support us and help us get back up the table, and we want to see those stands full."

Away supporter bays will be closed to Victory fans for the rest of the season, including Saturday's clash with Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.

Bottom-placed Victory have lost three straight games and will line up without marquee recruit Luis Nani, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during last week's defeat to Brisbane.

The former Manchester United player is yet to undergo surgery but faces a long stint on the sidelines.

Popovic said the club, which has two spots available for foreign recruits, would look to the transfer window to shore up its misfiring attack.

"We want to make a quick decision on a player but we need to make sure that this player can add the value that we need in that front third," he said.

"That's what we're searching for and working really hard to find the right fit."

Winger Chris Ikonomidis returns from injury for Victory while sixth-placed Adelaide will be without midfielder Isaias, who was sent off for a dangerous tackle during United's embarrassing 4-0 loss to Central Coast.

Adelaide coach Carl Veart could be forced to relinquish his gameday duties after distancing himself from players due to illness.

"Hopefully he's feeling all good," United star Craig Goodwin said.

"Last week was disappointing but I don't think it's really affected the group too much in terms of our morale and how we think we're going this season.

"After the break it's been a little bit disappointing in terms of results but overall I think we've started reasonably well."