GCU gunning for Reds
Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg is hopeful that injury will not slow the progress of his team's steady climb up the Hyundai A-League ladder as they travel to Adelaide to face the Reds on Friday night
Gold Coast United coach Miron Bleiberg is hopeful that injury will not slow the progress of his team's steady climb up the Hyundai A-League ladder as they travel to Adelaide to face the Reds on Friday night, in what is shaping up to be one of the matches of the season.
Gold Coast may be unbeaten for the past 11 matches but the trip to Adelaide will be made even tougher with goalkeeper Glen Moss, defender Michael Thwaite and in-form striker Joel Porter all ruled out, meaning United's depth will be fully tested in South Australia - but Bleiberg believes that as their 3-2 win against the Central Coast on Sunday showed, their replacements will be more than adequate.
"Look at the spine of our team - the goalkeeper, the centre back, the midfielder and the striker. Only Jason (Culina) survived out of these four and it's hard, but we've got Scott Higgins for Glen Moss, Dino Djulbic for Michael Thwaite, Jason for Jason and Bruce Djite for Porter," Bleiberg said.
"It shows our depth and I've learned with age not to be concerned. If we are organised, everyone puts in the work and we have the quality, names are irrelevant. Everyone will do their job."
"Sometimes you need a bit of luck and it's good timing with Bruce. If I knew Joel Porter was going to be injured five minutes before the game (against Central Coast) I would have taken Djite. But we've survived, now we have Bruce and hopefully we'll be OK."
While Gold Coast have won four games on the trot, the Reds have lost three of their past five - but all of those were away from Hindmarsh Stadium.
Interestingly, this season Adelaide are unbeaten at home and Gold Coast are unbeaten away, so one streak may well be broken on Friday night.
"Well, it could be a draw," Bleiberg laughed. "If I was a betting man I'd say a draw is a reasonable result. The question is if a draw will satisfy us or Adelaide - I don't know, but obviously both teams will play for a win and whatever happens, happens."
Bleiberg will be hunting for three points though, as his side continues to snap at the heels of fierce rivals and Hyundai A-League leaders Brisbane Roar - and a quick look at the fixture list has the two sides meeting at Suncorp Stadium on Boxing Day in a blockbuster match that could determine where each team finishes at the end of the season.
But before the Roar is Adelaide United, and the Gold Coast boss hopes a win at Hindmarsh is the start of a winning streak for his side - and a losing streak for Brisbane.
"The ideal situation is that if we win all the games from now until Boxing Day, the Roar will lose all of theirs so we run away and we'll be under less pressure," he said. "But as I predict, it will be close and it will make the Boxing Day game even more interesting."