5 key ins for Hyundai A-League Round 18

The countdown is on to a blockbuster Big Blue between Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC that serves as the launching pad to an important weekend.

With Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets having already fought out a draw, tonight's traditional Australia Day clash at AAMI Park will be watched keenly by the competition's other Finals Series contenders.

Here, we've picked out five returning players who be essential to shaping Round 18's remaining fixtures.

James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)

After yellow card accumulation forced him out for a week, a refreshed Troisi returns to take it to Sydney FC.

The attacking midfielder scored three goals against the Sky Blues across his first two Hyundai A-League seasons.

James Troisi
James Troisi has a handy record against Sydney.

Goran Paracki (Wellington Phoenix)

Wellington Phoenix's valuable victory in Newcastle was all the more impressive for coming in the absence of Paracki.

The Croatian midfielder returns from suspension on Saturday night to boost his team's hopes of winning successive matches for the first time this season.

Paracki has played every minute of his team's home matches this term.

Goran Paracki
Goran Paracki was an ever-present before his one-match suspension.

Ryan Kitto (Adelaide United)

It's little coincidence that Adelaide have fired back-to-back blanks without Kitto.

A knee complaint sidelined him for the draw with Sydney FC as well last week's 5-0 defeat at Melbourne City, and Marco Kurz will be relieved to have his top scorer back in contention.

Johan Absalonsen also returns to the Reds' squad as they aim to keep pressure on the top four.

Ryan Kitto vs Newcastle Jets
Ryan Kitto is key for Adelaide.

Wout Brama (Central Coast Mariners)

A run of four points in eight games has stalled Central Coast's charge towards the Finals Series places.

And with four draws from their last five, Paul Okon's young side will be looking to the experience of Wout Brama to steer them to a much-needed victory over a vulnerable Brisbane Roar.

Brama, who has sat out the last two with a hamstring injury, could provide the calming influence needed to turn missed opportunities into points.

Wout Brama
Wout Brama is a trusted on-field lieutenant for Paul Okon.

Dino Djulbic (Perth Glory)

Djulbic is expected join fellow new signing Neil Kilkenny in slotting straight into Glory's squad for the visit from Western Sydney.

The rugged defender, who is back for a third stint in the west, will need to be at his best to improve the league's leakiest defence.

Dino Djulbic
Dino Djulbic has been called on to solidify Perth.