Season preview | Adelaide United

The Reds can only improve on last season but can they keep up with the competition?

Can Bruce Djite become a more regular threat at Hindmarsh Stadium?

The Reds can only improve on last season but can they keep up with the competition?

John Kosmina and the Reds management have openly admitted they are in a rebuilding phase and they are looking to youth after what was a disastrous 2011/12 season.

Whether this was simply the fall-out from Rini Coolen-s departure from the club or the sign of some wider malaise remains to be seen, but there are positive signs for Reds fans heading into the new season.

The excursions in the AFC Asian Champions League have proven Adelaide do have the basis of a good team and have brought the playing squad closer together, as the coaching staff-s restructuring take full effect.

The timing of their Asian adventures have also given Adelaide a head start in their pre-season preparations, and will go into their opening Hyundai A-League fixture against Newcastle already in full flight. A good start could be crucial if their early exertions take their toll as the season rolls on.

Missing out on former hero Marcos Flores was a major disappointment but Kosmina has moved to ease the pain by adding his own touches of South American flair in Jeronimo Neumann and Marcelo Carrusca. If either can come close to inspiring effect of Flores, Adelaide could be in for a positive season.

Key player: Dario Vidosic Vidosic though needs a big season if he is to once again press his claims for a spot in the national setup after an injury plagued 2011 brought him crashing back to earth, and Adelaide need him fit and firing if they are to have any chance of making the finals.

His return to Australian football last season didn-t quite lift Adelaide as some had hoped and now 25, it-s time for the sometime Socceroo to step up. Inconsistent flashes of ability aren-t enough, and the Reds need a driving, goal-scoring presence in midfield to back up their sometimes lightweight attack.

Coach: John Kosmina Kossie still won-t have completed his coaching A licence for his side-s first game, but that won-t blunt his effectiveness inspiring his team to start the season with a bang.

But despite his experience, most commentators seem to be questioning on whether he is the man to take the club forward and match the evolution of Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners.

The A-League has moved on quickly, and any extension on his current one-year contract will depend on his willingness to learn, capacity to adapt and effectiveness in getting Adelaide to play quality competitive football.

X Factor: Iain Ramsay Fiery, speedy and highly skilled, Ramsay is often the spark the Reds need to get them going, but he is also capable of some severe brain fade. He-s important to them because of what he can bring to the attack, but he needs to curb his penchant for occasional petulant outbursts.

Transfers In: Jeronimo Neumann (Independiente Rivadavia, Argentina), Fabio Ferreira (Dulwich FC, NSW), Marcelo Carrusca (San Martín de San Juan, Argentina), Jake Barker-Daish (Gold Coast United), Daniel Bowles (Gold Coast United), Teeboy Kamara (Adelaide United Youth Team), Evan Kostopoulos (Adelaide United Youth Team)

Out: Francisco Usucar (released), Daniel Mullen (Dalian Aerbin, Chinese Super League), Spase Dilevski (Melbourne Victory), Ricardo Da Silva (released), Evgeniy Levchenko (released), Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets)

Key fixtures Round 3 v Melbourne Victory (A) The great rivalry of two rebuilding sides could be vital to getting off to a good start.

Round 13 v Brisbane Roar (H) Boxing Day begins the second half of the season and facing the benchmark, should show Adelaide where they are at.

Round 25 v Newcastle Jets (H) Neither team is regarded as a threat for the Premier-s Plate, but both could play finals, this fixture could be crucial.

Stat Shot Last year the Reds finished the season last in goals (26), assists (18) and shots on goal (295). The only way in attack is up.

Prediction: Seventh (This is not the author-s prediction but an average of contributors.)

The Hyundai A-League 2012/13 season kicks off on Friday 5 October with the season-s first Melbourne derby at Etihad Stadium. Click here for tickets to all the matches.

The official Hyundai A-League 2012/13 fantasy football game and tipping competitions are also open - so sign up now.