Adelaide host Brisbane in the top-of-the-table clash in Week 21 of the 2010/11 A-League season.
The Reds managed to snap their three-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over Sydney FC last Wednesday, getting them back into form just in the nick of time for the visit of the high-flying Roar who have now gone undefeated for 18 matches.
Ange Postecoglou's men have set the benchmark this season and a win here would almost certainly secure top spot six games out from the end of the regular season.
Brisbane were unlucky not to beat Gold Coast United in extremely wet conditions a week ago and will be primed to assert their authority on the Reds, who they ripped apart 4-0 the last time the two sides met in early November.
Rini Coolen's charges were far too good for the Sky Blues last week but prior to that were beaten easily by the Central Coast Mariners and Peth Glory following their last-minute loss to Melbourne Heart, which kicked off their losing streak.
The return of skipper Travis Dodd will be most welcome but I feel that the Roar are a team who can handle the big game pressure and might sneak a win here to clasp both hands firmly around the Premier's Plate, even without their captain Matt McKay who is away with the Australian national team for the Asian Cup.
Verdict: Roar 2-1
Adelaide United vs. Brisbane RoarDate: Sunday, 2 January 2010 Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Local kick-off: 6:30pm Referee: Matthew Breeze Head-to-Head: All matches (played 18): Adelaide United wins 8, Brisbane Roar wins 4 (6 draws) Match fact: Having lost none of their previous nine away matches, Brisbane Roar will be aiming to equal the Hyundai A-League's record for longest undefeated streak away from home (10) - a record currently held by Sydney FC (10 away matches undefeated, September 2007 to January 2008).
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club partners are ABC Digital (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Cameron WATSON, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 26.Joe KEENAN *one to be omitted* In: Travis DODD (returns from injury) Out: Nil Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (knee - season), Mathew LECKIE (knee - 4 weeks), Joe COSTA (knee - season)
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 4. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 10. HENRIQUE, 14. Rocky VISCONTE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 21. James MEYER, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK In: HENRIQUE (returns from broken arm) Out: Matt McKAY (international duty - 4 weeks) Unavailable: Matt MUNDY (knee - 1 week)