Coolen keeps it real

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen says he isn't frustrated by having to reshuffle his starting XI yet again ahead of the Reds clash against Melbourne Heart on Friday night, with star midfielder Paul Reid missing the match through suspension.

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen says he isn't frustrated by having to reshuffle his starting XI yet again ahead of the Reds clash against Melbourne Heart on Friday night, with star midfielder Paul Reid missing the match through suspension.

Reid is an integral part of United's engine room and has been one of the few shining lights in the Reds current form slump that has seen them lose three of their last four games.

United's stranglehold on the competition has slipped away and Brisbane Roar are now the runaway leader, five points ahead of the Reds.

But the Dutch coach is refusing to allow this or United's injury woes to trouble him.

Coolen said he is focussed on successfully returning players from injury and making sure they stay on the track ahead of a busy December while keeping a keen eye on potential transfers in January.

"It's not frustration, it's realistic. It's not perfect," he said.

"It's the way it is but you prefer something else. We have to accept it and we have to bring back players who are injured now and we're working hard on it."

"We have to be patient and maybe we can do something in the January (transfer) window but in December we have a lot of games to go and we prefer to get everybody fit as much as possible and stay out of injury again."

Coolen acknowledged Reid is a vital cog in the midfield trio that includes Marcos Flores and Adam Hughes, but he remains confident in whoever will fill the boots of the hard-nosed midfielder against the Heart.

"You prefer to play with him in the midfield with Flores there and Hughesy. That's what we've done in the days when we've played perfect," he said.

"It's a little bit different with balance, but that's what happens with football. If you have injuries or suspended players you have to change them for other players who are ready."

Having dealt with a number of injury issues since arriving in the City of Churches it's no surprise the Reds boss has expressed his desire to see the Hyundai A-League squads' current 23-man quota increased in the future.

"That could be something I think for the future. We have to get a bigger squad with more players available on the same level, more competition between players," he said.

"But, that's not what we have at the moment. We have to play with the players that are available and I believe in the players who will start tomorrow."

Coolen hinted captain Travis Dodd will get his first start tomorrow after six appearances as a substitute, but doubts he will be able to run out the full 90 minutes.

Dodd has been nursed through his return and gradually brought back after groin surgery in the off season before a recurring Achilles injury saw him miss the 2-1 loss to fierce rival Melbourne Victory.

"More than likely (he will start). We've built him up in the last weeks every time a part in the game, 45 minutes to find out the reaction of his Achilles."

"It's getting better and better so the next step is to start him and play him as long as possible. It could be 60 minutes, it could be 70 or it could be 50, but definitely not the whole game so probably we're going to start with him tomorrow."