Adelaide to regain duo

Adelaide United have been given a boost ahead of the clash with the Wellington Phoenix on Friday night at Hindmarsh Stadium with experienced pair Cassio and Evegniy Levchenko set to return to the starting line-up after long injury lay-offs.

Adelaide United have been given a boost ahead of the clash with the Wellington Phoenix on Friday night at Hindmarsh Stadium with experienced pair Cassio and Evegniy Levchenko set to return to the starting line-up after long injury lay-offs.

Vice-captain Cassio has not played since November 19 when he was forced to leave the field early after further damaging a tendon in his left foot against Friday's opponents across the Tasman.

The diminutive left-back has only been in the country since mid-January having spent the previous two months receiving treatment in his native Brazil.

Levchenko has also spent close to three months on the sidelines with a series of niggles that began with an injury to his calf and later his groin.

The Ukrainian was suspected to be suffering from osteitis pubis.

The 34-year-old's last game was against Melbourne Heart on November 4 when, like Cassio, he had to be substituted early.

Adelaide coach John Kosmina admitted he had restricted the duo from returning early in order to ensure they endured a "mini pre-season" before returning to the pitch.

"Lev (Levchenko) and Cassio will start and they looked good on the track," Kosmina said.

"I think keeping them out a little bit longer and not trying to rush either of them back and letting them do a mini pre-season has helped."

The former Sydney FC coach was not concerned with the lack of game time either had had and was looking forward to Levchenko starting in an unfamiliar centre-back role given the likes of regular defenders Daniel Mullen and Antony Golec are away on national duty with the Qantas Australian U-23s, and former captain Jon McKain is injured.

"It's not going to be easy because Wellington are a side in form at the moment and training is no substitute for a game, so on that side of it it might take them a little bit of time to get used to the pace of it," Kosmina said.

"But Lev playing as a centre-back rather than a midfielder with the game in front of him, can play another couple of seasons here in Australia."

Having played out a 1-1 draw in the previous meeting with the Phoenix this season, Adelaide will face a sterner test this time round with Wellington sitting in second and enjoying a three-match winning streak.

The Phoenix have a terrible record at Hindmarsh Stadium winning only once in their travels to South Australia.

Kosmina expects a conservative Wellington side given their stranglehold on a finals position but said his Reds must be wary of the attacking threat Wellington pose upfront through English talismans Paul Ifill and Chris Greenacre and from deep in defence.

"They've got players who are naturally go-forward players like Paul Ifill for example, so that's one thing we will have to be aware of," Kosmina said.

"They will probably make sure that they get numbers behind the ball and keep some shape, but as far as parking the bus on the edge of the box, I don't think they will go quite that far."

"They rely on guys like Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund who are quite tidy but also aggressive at the back ... and they've got natural go-forward full-backs with Tony Lochhead and Manny Muscat."

"It's not like they are going to change their whole game plan, they'll just hopefully be a little bit more conservative which would help us."