The race to the finish line is heating up as Adelaide United meet Wellington Phoenix for the second time in two weeks, desperate to return to winning ways.
The Reds have not won in three games and need three points tomorrow night at Coopers Stadium to remain in the hunt for a top-two finish as they currently lie in fourth spot in a congested table.
Both sides were held to goalless draws last weekend. Adelaide could not find a way past 10-man Western United, while the Phoenix played out a stalemate in waterlogged conditions in Brisbane.
A fortnight ago United succumbed to a last-gasp 2-1 loss against Wellington in Wollongong.
At his pre-match press conference, Carl Veart said his team’s focus was to return to playing attacking football while being cautious of the Phoenix’s counter-attacks.
Veart on the focus this week…
Just to keep playing and going back to the attacking football we’ve been playing over these last three months. I mean that’s been the key focus for us is to keep that belief in what we’ve been doing because we’ve been playing some great stuff. Yes, we were a little bit disappointing in the last game, but other than that we’ve been very good.
Veart on Wellington…
We only played them two weeks ago so we know exactly how they play and we know what their strengths are. We’ve done a bit of work on that this week and again it’s just a matter of us taking our opportunities when they present them.
Veart on competition for places…
Noah (Smith) played his first game back last week in the NPL. He’s building himself back into match fitness and I suppose that’s a luxury we have now. We’ve pretty much got everyone back. Michael Jakobsen will be back in full training next week so we’ve got that competition back for all positions which is what we need going into this busy period of games.
Yaya Dukuly, Yared Abetew and Jonny Yull have all been promoted, while Mohamed Toure is absent serving a one-match suspension.
James Delianov and Noah Smith are close to returning to the A-League squad with the pair playing in last weekend’s National Premier League game against Campbelltown City to regain match sharpness. They will both again play for the Young Reds this weekend.
Javi López’s recovery remains on track and is close to returning to full training, while Veart confirmed Michael Jakobsen will be back in full training next week.
Last five meetings
2-1 loss (A)
1-1 draw (A)
1-2 loss (H)
3-1 win (H)
0-0 draw (H)
Ones to watch
Ben Halloran could hold the key against the Phoenix who will more than likely be content with absorbing pressure and look to break on the counter-attack. The winger is often the unsung hero in the Reds’ forward line given his consistency. The 28-year-old has three goals and four assists this season and will want to add to that.
Ulises Davila is fundamental to everything Wellington does in an attacking sense. Limiting his time and space in possession goes without saying due to his impressive passing ability. The Mexican has scored seven goals and has five assists this campaign.
Friday, 7 May vs Wellington Phoenix
A-League 2020/21 – Matchweek 20
Kick-off 7.05pm ACST
Gates open 6.05pm ACST
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Broadcast: Fox Sports
Stream: Kayo Sports, MyFootball Live App