Adelaide United - Perth Glory Preview

If the Western Australian club are to finish in the top four this is just about a must-win but they need to do it against the resurgent Reds

Perth Glory's hopes of a top-four finish are slipping away and the improving Adelaide United will look to take advantage on Friday night.

SQUADS

Adelaide United squad:1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.Jae-sung KIM, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Baba DIAWARA, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 18.Riley McGREE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ryan KITTO, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 92.Eli BABALJ

**two to be omitted**

Ins:8.Riley McGREE (returns from international duty), 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (returns from suspension), 22.Ryan KITTO (promoted)

Outs:14.George MELLS (not selected)

Unavailable:3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (hip – 1 week), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season), 24.Jordan O'DOHERTY (ankle – 2 weeks)

Perth Glorysquad:3.Marc WARREN, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Richard GARCIA, 13.Nick FEELY (gk), 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Joe MILLS, 17.Diego CASTRO, 18.Mitch OXBORROW, 19.Josh RISDON, 20.Aryn WILLIAMS, 22.Adam TAGGART, 23.Kosta PETRATOS, 26.Lucian GOIAN, 28.Joe KNOWLES, 33.Liam REDDY (gk)

**two to be omitted**

Ins:15.Brandon WILSON (promoted), 23.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted), 28.Joe KNOWLES (promoted)

Outs:10.Nebo MARINKOVIC (groin – 1 week)

Unavailable:2.Alex GRANT (foot – season), 4.Shane LOWRY (quad – season), 5.Rhys WILLLIAMS (suspended – 1 match), 8.Rostyn GRIFFITHS (quad – 1 week)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

Six weeks ago, Glory appeared in the box seat to not only claim a top-four finish and a home final but to surge past Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar to give themselves a shot at the AFC Champions League next year.

Perth had crushed Adelaide United 5-0 at Coopers Stadium to keep pace with Roar and City.

COMMENT: Asia beckons for Perth Glory

Since then, however, Kenny Lowe's men have won just one match - a 2-0 triumph over Western Sydney Wanderers and consecutive losses to Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC leave Glory four points adrift of their rivals for a top-four spot in the A-League table.

Perth can still make inroads on both Roar and City - their next two opponents at nib Stadium - but need a third win for the season over the Reds to be confident of moving up the table.

The problem for Lowe's side is that Adelaide suddenly look a different beast to the one they thumped in February.

Guillermo Amor's team is unbeaten in four matches in all competitions, including consecutive A-League victories over Brisbane and Central Coast Mariners and in Baba Diawara, the Reds have secured a genuine focal point up front.

Diawara has scored four goals in three games, including a brace against the Mariners.

In their past two games, Adelaide have improved on their conversion rate (17.6%) over the course of the season.

Against Brisbane and Central Coast, the Reds scored with 20 per cent of their shots.

This is a concern for Glory's porous defence as they have conceded more goals - 47 - than any other A-League team this term.

Adelaide regain the services of Riley McGree, Marcelo Carrusca and Ryan Kitto, while the visitors have added Brandon Wilson, Kosta Petratos and Joseph Mills to an extended squad.

Perth midfielder Nebo Marinkovic is unavailable with a groin strain.

ROUTE TO GOAL

While defending has been Glory's supreme weakness this season, they have been scintillating going forward.

Perth have only been held scoreless in three of their 24 A-League fixtures in 2016-17, with Adam Taggart (11 goals), and Diego Castro and Andy Keogh (both 10) leading the way up front.

If Dino Djulbic and Aryn Williams can keep Diawara fairly quiet, Glory should score enough goals to win on Friday night.

With the Senegalese striker leading the line for the Reds, Sergio Cirio has been able to get back to what he does best - cutting in from the left.

The Spaniard has scored in two of Adelaide's last three games and will look to link up with the likes of Carrusca, McGree and Nikola Mileusnic in the space in front of Perth's back four.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Lucian Goian. It wasn't a debut to remember for the Romanian centre-back against Sydney, with Goian turning the ball into his own net in the 38th minute after signing for Perth as an injury-replacement player six days earlier.

FORM LINES (all competitions)

Adelaide United: LDDWW

Perth Glory: DWDLL

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 2-2 Perth Glory


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