With second place still up for grabs, expect Adelaide United to come out firing at home tonight.
After last night’s draw between Melbourne Heart and Central Coast Mariners, the Reds have a great chance to bridge the gap with the latter team in their pursuit of a top-two finish and a two-legged final with minor Premiers Brisbane Roar.
A disappointing 2-1 loss to the Mariners at Hindmarsh last week and a lacklustre scoreless draw with Gold Coast United on Wednesday will have Adelaide desperate to regain some form ahead of the finals and tonight could be the night when they piece it together.
But they will have a determined Wellington Phoenix outfit coming to town who will be after maximum points to secure their spot in the top six.
Jade North returns from his international duties with the Australian team at the Asian Cup and will slot into the spot vacated by Ben Sigmund who has a two-match suspension for yellow card accruement as has the versatile Manny Muscat.
You can’t really back the Phoenix away from home as they have just one win and two draws from 13 matches on the road whilst Adelaide have won nine times in 13 attempts in South Australia this term.
On that basis I am tipping the Reds who should prove too good for the Phoenix and will bounce back from their recent mediocre form.
Verdict: Reds 2-1
Adelaide United vs. Wellington Phoenix
Date: Saturday, 5 Feb 2011
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Local kick-off: 6:30pm (7.00pm AEDT)
Referee: Matthew Breeze
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 11): Adelaide United wins 5, Wellington Phoenix wins 2 (4 draws)
Match fact: This will be Wellington Phoenix’s 100th Hyundai A-League match.
Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2, FS2 HD and Sky Sports 1 (NZ). Hyundai A-League club partner is ABC Digital (Adelaide) and The Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
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, 11.Andy SLORY, 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 *three to be omitted*
In: Lucas PANTELIS (promoted), Dario BODRUSIC (promoted), Osama MALIK (promoted)
Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (knee – season), Joe COSTA (knee – season), Joe KEENAN (leg – season), Fabian BARBIERO (ankle – season)
Wellington Phoenix squad: 3. Tony LOCHHEAD’ 4. Nicky WARD, 6. Tim BROWN, 9, Chris GREENACRE, 10, Oscar Roberto CORNEJO, 11. DANIEL, 12. James MUSA, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 15. Jade NORTH, 17. Vince LIA, 19, Danny VUKOVIC, 20, Reece CROWTHER, 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 23. Dylan MACALLISTER *one to be omitted*
In: Mirjan PAVLOVIC (promoted); Jade NORTH (returns from international duty)
Out: Leo Bertos (injury)
Unavailable: Paul IFILL (leg – four weeks), Mark PASTON (gk, knee – season), Ben SIGMUND (Suspended – 2 weeks), Manny MUSCAT (suspended – 2 weeks)