Third host second in the A-League’s match of the round for Week 25.
Adelaide United, coming off the biggest win in competition history after their 8-1 drubbing of North Queensland Fury, will be full of confidence heading into tonight’s meeting at Hindmarsh Stadium but face a much tougher opponent in the Central Coast Mariners.
Graham Arnold has his men perfectly tuned at the moment with three wins in their past five allowing them to go a point clear of the Reds.
The Mariners showed their true fighting spirit to hold Sydney FC to a 2-2 draw after being down 2-0 at the break on Sunday and it is that type of character which will net them a favourable result here.
However, Adelaide were irrepressible last Friday night and with players like Marcos Flores, Sergio van Dijk and Travis Dodd in top form, will be very hard to hold out.
Iain Fyfe’s time with the club is now up after he succumbed to injury ahead of his move to Korea but Rini Coolen has drafted in Croatian defender Dario Bodrusic who has confirmed that he is ready to give his all for the club.
In the Mariners camp, star left-back Josh Rose returns from illness whilst striker Michael Baird is back in the squad, giving Arnold plenty of depth.
It promises to be an exciting match with plenty of chances but I feel that a draw is the fairest way to go, especially with the overall record between the sides and even if the match is at Adelaide’s ‘fortress’.
Verdict: 1-1 draw
Adelaide United vs. Central Coast Mariners
Date: Saturday, 29 Jan 2011
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Local kick-off: 7:00pm (7:30pm AEDT)
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 18): Adelaide United wins 6, Central Coast Mariners wins 6 (6 draws)
Match fact: Central Coast Mariners midfielder Rostyn Griffiths is set to make his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance.
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 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, 16.Dario BODRUSIC, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Francisco USUCAR, 22.Osama MALIK *two to be omitted*
In: Lucas PANTELIS (promoted), Dario BODRUSIC (new signing), Osama MALIK (new signing)
Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (knee – season), Joe COSTA (knee – season), Joe KEENAN (leg – season), Fabian BARBIERO (ankle – season), Andy SLORY (thigh – 1 week)
In: Josh ROSE (returns from illness), Michael BAIRD (promoted), Chris DOIG (promoted)
Unavailable: Brad PORTER (knee – 6 weeks), Nik MRDJA (knee – 6 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)