ALM Match Preview: Staj and co preparing for tough test against “wounded” Reds

Glory Head Coach Alen Stajcic is expecting his charges to face a backlash from Adelaide United in Friday’s Isuzu UTE A-League Round 17 clash with the Reds at Coopers Stadium.

View his full pre-match media conference HERE

While the men in purple have collected an impressive seven points from their last three games, the Reds have won only one in six and were downed 4-0 at home by Central Coast Mariners last time out.

And the Head Coach is braced for a reaction to that chastening defeat from Carl Veart’s men.

“Adelaide had a decent loss at home last week against Mariners,” he said.

“I don’t think the scoreboard was necessarily a reflection of the game, but no doubt they’re a bit wounded and they’ll come out even more fired up than they would normally.

“They have a lot of key strengths.

“They’re a good attacking team, probably one of the best in the league and we know that we’ve been vulnerable at the back this year.

“So that’s definitely going to be a big part of the game for us this week.”

Stajcic went on to acknowledge the significance of last Friday’s rousing home victory over Melbourne City which moved Glory to within six points of the Finals places, but was equally quick to point out that his side remain very much a work in progress.

“It was a big win for us against one of the bigger clubs of the A-League, especially over the last four or five years when they’ve definitely been the benchmark,” he said.

“So [it was] definitely good for confidence.

“But regardless of the result, we keep looking at ways to improve.

“It’s still clear to see that we have many problems to fix up and we’re working on those every week.

“It’s not easy, but we’re progressing and as long as we keep progressing in those areas that we’re still vulnerable in, we’ll keep improving as a team.

“At both ends of the park, there are definitely parts to polish, so while we’re happy with the result, we still know there’s a lot of hard work to do to keep improving and ultimately start knocking on the door of the top six.

“It’s six points away [to sixth place], but that’s a big six points as you have to work hard for every point in this league.

“There are no easy moments, no easy matches for anyone.

“Every game and every moment matters and no doubt Adelaide will be no different this Friday.

“There’s no game I think we can’t win, but at the same time, I know that every game is going to be real hard work.

“The mentality has to be the same, the processes that we bring into the game have to be the same and we have to ensure we hit the ground running.”

In terms of squad news, meanwhile, Stajcic suggested that one or two other players may join the suspended Stefan Colakovski in missing the trip to Coopers Stadium.

“We’ve got a few issues in the team, so we’ll see how they pull up at training today and tomorrow,” he said.

“At the moment, Cola is the only one who’s definitely out, but as we’ve seen and as we’ve shown over the last few weeks, anyone who comes in can do the job and that’s what probably gives me the most confidence in this group.”

Glory will head across the border looking for a first victory in the South Australian capital since February 2021, with the Reds having claimed maximum points in 15 of the previous 27 meetings between the two sides at Coopers Stadium.

Three of United’s five wins this season have come at home, but all of those were before the turn of the year and in 2024, they have recorded two draws and one defeat.

Among Adelaide’s leading lights this term have been English import Zac Clough, who has scored five goals and added the same number of assists, Ben Halloran, who has found the net four times and claimed six assists and powerful Japanese striker, Hiro Ibusuki, who is their leading marksman with seven goals.

Match Details

Isuzu UTE A-League 2023-24 Season Round 17

Adelaide United v Perth Glory

Coopers Stadium

Friday 9 February 2024

Kick-off: 4:45pm WST

Adeliade United squad: 1.James DELIANOV, 2.Harry VAN DER SAAG, 3.Ben WARLAND, 4.Nick ANSELL, 6.Stefan MAUK, 7.Ryan KITTO (c), 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Hiroshi IBUSUKI, 10.Zach CLOUGH, 17.Luka JOVANOVIĆ, 22.Ryan TUNNICLIFFE, 23.Luke DUZEL, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Josh CAVALLO, 40.Ethan COX, 42.Austin AYOUBI, 43.Giuseppe BOVALINA, 51.Panagiotis KIKIANIS, 55.Ethan ALAGICH, 66.Nestory IRANKUNDA

Ins: 2.Harry VAN DER SAAG, 4.Nick ANSELL, 55.Ethan ALAGICH

Outs: 37.Jonny YULL

Unavailable: 13.Lachlan Barr (calf), 18.Jay BARNETT (hamstring), 36.Panashe MADANHA (ankle), 49. Musa TOURE (quad), 37.Jonny YULL (foot)

Perth Glory squad: 1.Oli SAIL (gk), 2.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 3.Jacob MUIR, 4.Luke BODNAR, 8.Mustafa AMINI (c), 9.David WILLIAMS, 13.Cameron COOK (gk), 14.Riley WARLAND, 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 16.Josh RAWLINS, 17.Jarrod CARLUCCIO, 19.Trent OSTLER, 20.Giordano COLLI, 22.Adam TAGGART (co-c), 23.Daniel BENNIE, 27.Jayden GORMAN, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 31.Joel ANASMO, 34.Andriano LEBIB, 77.Bruce KAMAU

Two to be omitted

Ins: 3.Jacob MUIR, 19.Trent OSTLER, 27.Jayden GORMAN, 34.Andriano LEBIB

Outs: 7.Stefan COLAKOVSKI , 12.Luke IVANOVIC

Unavailable: 5.Mark BEEVERS (co-c) (injured), 7.Stefan COLAKOVSKI (suspended), 11.Adam ZIMARINO (injured), 21.Antonis MARTIS (injured)

(picture courtesy of Mark Francesca)