Week 18 of the A-League season kicks off on Friday night with the clash between Adelaide United and North Queensland Fury. The Reds are coming off a narrow defeat at the hands of the Wellington Phoenix and will be desperate to take all three points here after having one in the bag during injury-time before a last-gasp Ben Sigmund goal.
A loss like that would have hurt the playing group, especially after skipper Travis Dodd was wrongfully sent off with just minutes remaining, and they will be determined to get back to winning ways at home.
The Fury come to town as the league's bottom side with just one win from their past seven matches and will be looking for a favourable result as they strive to get themselves out of their rut.
A 2-0 home loss to Newcastle Jets last week wouldn't do their confidence any favours after the away win at Gold Coast United during the week but a new match provides a new challenge and Franz Straka will be looking to get the best of his mob before the season gets away from them.
However, it is not a fluke that the Reds are sitting second and I expect them to come out and record a solid win to bridge the gap on league leaders Brisbane Roar and notch up their seventh win on the trot at Hindmarsh.
Verdict: Reds 2-0
Adelaide United v North Queensland FuryDate: Friday, 10 December 2010 Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Local kick-off time: 7.30pm (8.00pm AEDT) Referee: Mathew Gillett Head-to-head: All matches (played 4): Adelaide United wins 2, North Queensland Fury wins 1 (1 draw) Match fact: Having won its past six home matches, Adelaide United will be aiming to create the Hyundai A-League's second longest winning streak at home (seven) should it win at Hindmarsh Stadium this weekend. The league's record longest winning streak at home was set by Melbourne Victory, who won eight straight home matches in November 2008 - February 2009.
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports, FS1 HD and Sky Sports 2 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club partners are ABC Digital (Adelaide) and Zinc 100.7 FM (Townsville). To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 16.Inseob SHIN, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 24.Cameron WATSON, 26.Joe KEENAN *two to be omitted* In: Inseob SHIN (promoted), Joe KEENAN (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Mathew LECKIE (knee - 5 weeks), Joe COSTA (knee - season)
North Queensland Fury squad: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 5. Mark HUGHES, 7. Gareth EDDS (c), 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 13. Andre KILIAN, 16. Simon STOREY, 17. Osama MALIK, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 23. Lorenzo SIPI, 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk) *one to be omitted* In: Brad McDONALD (promoted), Brett STUDMAN (promoted), Lorenzo SIPI (promoted) Out: Ufuk TALAY (1 week suspension), Eugene SSEPPUYA (omitted) Unavailable: Eric AKOTO (knee - 2 weeks), Adam CASEY (ankle - 1 week), Chris GROSSMAN (knee - 2 weeks), Chris PAYNE (hamstring - 1 week), Isaka CERNAK (knee - 2 weeks), Matthew HAM (knee - out for the season)