Only mathematics and the Reds themselves believe a finals campaign can still be salvaged, but they will have a tough time against a Glory outfit on the rebound
Golec, Boogard, Mullen, Cassio
Barbiero, Levchenko, Malik, Vidosic
Van Dijk, Djite
Risdon, V. den Brink, Pantelidis, Heffernan
Dodd, Hughes, Burns, AndrezinhoMehmet, McGarry
Adelaide United host Perth Glory on Thursday at Hindmarsh Stadium in a game they must win to keep any hope of a spot in the final series alive.
Despite still being a mathematical chance to make the finals, Adelaide have won just once in their past five games, with a loss against the Glory ensuring their chances of a top-six finish will be over.
United’s recent poor run has partly been due to their inability to score goals. Despite boasting the talented attacking trio of Bruce Djite, Dario Vidosic and Sergio van Dijk, Adelaide have only scored five goals in their past six games.
Van Dijk, who scored seven goals in his first 14 games this season, has not managed to find the back of the net in his past five matches.
Adelaide have also struggled this campaign to make Hindmarsh Stadium a fortress like previous seasons, with six of their 10 losses this season coming at home.
Perth Glory have lost just twice in their past 11 games, ensuring they sit fourth on the A-League table.
A win against Adelaide could see them move to third, putting them in prime position to secure a home final.
The last time these two sides met was at Hindmarsh on January 29, when Perth Glory produced a dominant display to overcome the Reds 3-0.
Glory will be hoping Shane Smeltz and Liam Miller can return after being ruled out on Saturday due to nagging injuries, while Todd Howarth is set to return to the line-up after Mile Sterjovski's impending departure to Chinese Super League club Dalian Aerbin.
Adelaide will be bolstered by the return of Olyroos Daniel Mullen and Anthony Golec, who are likely to make an immediate return to the starting XI, but are set to be without Uruguayan Fransisco Usucar because of a hamstring injury.
It will be interesting to see how Adelaide go into the match, knowing they must travel to Uzbekistan Friday to face Bunyodkor in the first round of group stage matches of the 2012 AFC Champions League on Tuesday.
Going on recent form, it is hard to ascertain which side is favourite.
With Adelaide having one eye on the ACL, however, and it is difficult to see Glory slipping up at such an important part of the season.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Perth Glory have not lost to Adelaide United since November 2010.
- Danny Vukovic has kept the most clean sheets in the league this season, but has made half the amount of saves as Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic.
- Adelaide United have conceded the most fouls in the league this season.
- Adelaide have only scored more than two goals on one occasion this season.
- Glory have not been kept scoreless since 10 December 2011.