Preview: Gold Coast United v Adelaide United

There hasn't been much between the two Uniteds in the past, but their last match put Gold Coast in front by a nose in the head-to-head stakes.

Date: Sunday 12 February 2012 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT, 4.30pm local Venue: Skilled Park

Head-to-head Played: 9 Wins: Gold Coast 3, Adelaide 2, Draws: 4

Previous encounter Gold Coast 3 Adelaide 0, 16 December 2011

History: There hasn't been much between the two Uniteds in the past, but their last match put Gold Coast in front by a nose in the head-to-head stakes. Goals to Ben Halloran, Maceo Rigters and Dylan MacAllister gave the Queensland side a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Hindmarsh Stadium. It was the final straw for the Adelaide board, who brought in John Kosmina as coach and turned Rini Coolen into the most expensive youth coach in Australian football history. Just a few days into his demotion, Coolen understandably quit. Looking ahead, Sunday's match will be the first time Gold Coast will play Adelaide at Skilled Park this season. All three past fixtures between them at the Robina stadium have been draws, but with both sides desperate to dodge the wooden spoon that may change this weekend.


Past five matches: Gold Coast: DLLDL Adelaide: DLDLL

Summary of form: Life over the past month would have been tough if you're a fan of Gold Coast or Adelaide. They occupy the last two spots on the Hyundai A-League ladder and, based on their more recent results, there's no indication that is going to change anytime soon. The Coast have had a dreadful campaign, and the worst result yet came on Monday night. A tired, depleted and distracted United side took on Perth and came away on the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline. With just three wins in total - and none since Boxing Day - they sit in tenth spot, five points behind the Reds but with a game in hand.

Adelaide aren't doing a great deal better. Their winless streak at the moment is six games, but their maddening inconsistency stretches back a great deal further. The return of Kossie brought with it a minor upturn in results but the Reds have since come crashing back down to earth. Having conceded a total of 11 goals in their last six outings, the South Australians haven't kept a clean sheet since the visit of Wellington just before the New Year. All this means they have no real reason to be confident of victory against the other United.

Match Committee: The problems keep piling up at Gold Coast United. Maceo Rigters (foot) is the latest addition to the club's bulging injury list, which already includes Dylan MacAllister (hamstring), Joel Porter (calf), Chris Broadfoot (foot), Tahj Minniecon (heel), Glen Moss (adductor) and Paul Beekmans (released - compassionate grounds). Fortunately, custodian Jerrad Tyson should be right to resume his spot in goal after overcoming a wrist problem. He played 90 minutes in the NYL on the weekend and recovered well.

For Adelaide, they'll again be without Olyroos trio Antony Golec, Mark Birighitti and Daniel Mullen, while Milan Susak (hamstring), Spase Dilevski (groin) and Jon McKain (knee) will also miss out on the trip to the Glitter Strip.

Danger men: Kristian Rees - The former Adelaide centre-half has enjoyed something of a career renaissance this term. Rees has started almost every single match for Gold Coast this season, and has been a model of professionalism for the younger players at the club. Rees is a tough customer, but can also use the ball as well as any defender and doesn't mind scoring the odd goal or two either, as he's demonstrated this season. The veteran always enjoys playing against his hometown club, but he won't show them any mercy.

Eugene Galekovic - Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg likes to joke that every visiting goalkeeper to Skilled Park ends up being named man of the match, such is their bad luck in terms of scoring. Don't be surprised if Adelaide skipper Galekovic turns Sunday's match into another nightmare for Miron. The experienced shotstopper has had a reasonable season thus far in the goalmouth, and, given the Coast's near-inability to hit the back of the net at any consistency, he will most likely play a key role in this weekend's match.

At the end of the day… Gold Coast United have spent most of the season with their hands glued to the wooden spoon. This is their final opportunity to free themselves of it. According to the ladder, Adelaide are just about level with the Coast on performance this year and with the match at Skilled Park - their home turf - this looms as a six-point game for Miron Bleiberg's men. Win and anything can happen - as the A-League has shown, consecutive victories can rocket a team up the ladder at breakneck speed. Lose, and Gold Coast had better get comfortable with possessing the dreaded mythical kitchen utensil in their grasp. Sunday's match will be a difficult task for them, given their bulging injury list and hectic travel schedule. However, coming off one of the worst results in the club's short but proud history, it's just as difficult to back them. The Reds should be capable of driving the final nails through the coffin of Gold Coast United's season.


Gold Coast United Squad: 40.Chris O-Connor [gk], 2.Josh Brillante, 3.Michael Thwaite (c), 5.Kristian Rees, 7.Golgol Mebrahtu, 11.Jake Barker-Daish, 13.Ante Rozic, 14.Ben Halloran, 15.Adama Traore, 16.Maceo Rigters, 17.Chris Harold, 18.James Brown, 20.Jerrad Tyson [gk], 21.Daniel Severino, 22.Peter Jungschlager, 23.Dylan McGowan, 24.Jonas Salley, 28.Daniel Bowles, 29.Mitch Bevan, 30.Brendan White [gk] *four to be omitted*

In: 2.Josh Brillante (promoted), 11.Jake Barker-Daish (promoted), 18.James Brown (return from ankle injury), 20.Jerrad Tyson [gk] (return from wrist injury), 28.Daniel Bowles (return from ankle injury)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 1.Glen Moss (groin injury - 4 weeks), 6.Paul Beekmans (compassionate leave - indefinite), 9.Joel Porter (calf - 3 weeks), 10.Tahj Minniecon (foot injury - 1 week), 12.Dylan MacAllister (hamstring - 5 weeks), 19.Chris Broadfoot (ankle injury - indefinite)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 7.Zenon Caravella, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Ricardo Da Silva, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Francisco Usucar, 39.Nick Munro (gk) *one to be omitted

In: Ricardo Da Silva (promoted), Nick Munro (gk) (promoted from NYL)

Out: Paul Izzo (gk) (knee)

Unavailable: Daniel Mullen (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Mark Birighitti (gk) (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Antony Golec (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Spase Dilevski (groin), Milan Susak (hamstring), Jon McKain (knee)