Adelaide United battle third-placed Wellington Phoenix on Saturday afternoon, knowing a victory bolsters their finals aspirations.
However, it will be nothing short of a tough test for the South Australians with the Phoenix playing some scintillating football.
The Reds began the restart with a hard-fought 1-0 triumph against Brisbane Roar thanks in large part to Paul Izzo’s heroics, while Wellington secured a 2-1 win over Perth Glory on Wednesday night.
Fatigue may be a factor for Ufuk Talay’s side given the three-day turnaround and the fact it will be their third match in eight days.
But Adelaide interim Head Coach, Carl Veart, is fully aware of their quality and warned Adelaide must be at their best.
“In the two games that they’ve played so far, they’ve shown how good of a side they are,” Veart told reporters via Zoom.
“They’re pushing for a top two spot, and they’ve been very good. Some of the football they’ve played has been excellent, so it’s going to be a very good challenge for us.
“We’re going to have to be at the top of our game to get the three points.”
A win for the Reds would see Veart become the first coach in the Club’s history to take maximum points from his opening two league matches in charge.
Adelaide managed to keep a clean sheet for the first time in five matches last time out as well.
— Adelaide United (@AdelaideUnited) July 24, 2020
Although Adelaide illustrated great desperation and resolve, they did concede a number of chances to the Roar, and Veart acknowledged it will take time to improve their defensive structure.
“It’s not a problem that we can just fix overnight,” he said.
“It’s going to take games to get that understanding that I want from the team.
“But their desperation that they showed against Brisbane was fantastic and we got a clean sheet.
“Paul (Izzo) made some great saves and that’s what he’s there for, so I was very happy.
“It was a different setup to what they’ve done before and we hadn’t really had any games to practice it.
“So more than happy and it’s something that we can build on into this game against Wellington.”
The former Reds striker confirmed Nikola Mileusnić (foot) and Al Hassan Toure (hamstring) are both unavailable.
However, Louis D’Arrigo, Lachlan Brook, Yared Abetew and Jackson Walls have trained fully this week since joining the hub.
Veart was confident Toure’s injury was only minor and will be back before the end of the season and added that he does have options at his disposal to fill the void.
“We’ve got a few options in that position,” he said.
“We’ve got Mohamed Toure can play out there, Pac (Pacifique Niyongabire) can play out there, Lachlan Brook and can play out there.
“So we’ve got a few options that can play in those wide areas, so in that regard we do have the cover.”
Adelaide United face Wellington Phoenix in the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season on Saturday 25 July at Bankwest Stadium. Kick-off is at 4.30pm ACST. Live and Exclusive on Fox Sports, ABC, Kayo Sports and the MyFootball Live App.