Injuries hammer Reds

Adelaide United will be without captain Travis Dodd and Hyundai A-League Goalkeeper of the Year Eugene Galekovic for the Reds all-important clash against Sydney FC at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night.

Adelaide United will be without captain Travis Dodd and Hyundai A-League Goalkeeper of the Year Eugene Galekovic for the Reds all-important clash against Sydney FC at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night.

United boss Rini Coolen admitted it would be unwise to risk Dodd, who copped a knock to the ankle in the 2-0 loss to Central Coast, as the Reds' hectic festive schedule winds up - culminating with an epic encounter against runaway leader Brisbane Roar on January 2.

Sydney is United's third of four opponents in 12 days as the Reds' grip on second spot all but slips away, with the Mariners only one point behind with two games in hand as Adelaide crashed to three consecutive losses and four from their last five starts.

"We took the decision not to play Travis Dodd," Coolen said on Tuesday.

"He already had a few injuries, but he has another injury with his foot, his ankle. I don't think it's fair to take the risk so he has to focus on the next game (Brisbane)."

Coolen also revealed Galekovic will miss three weeks after playing under duress the last month with a ligament injury in his wrist. The coach said Galekovic could possibly return after the Reds' weekend break on January 16.

The Dutchman said Galekovic will still sit on the bench in the event of an emergency to 19 year-old Young Socceroo keeper Mark Birighitti, with the understudy earning his first start for the Reds since October 31 2008.

"We found out about Eugene a couple of weeks ago but he could handle it, it was not a big problem," he said.

"But now we took a decision for him to have a break. We'll give him a break for three weeks. He will start directly after our weekend break. He can also use the three weeks to freshen up his mind a bit."

"It means he stays with the squad, we prefer to have him around. It means he can come in if necessary, more than likely it won't happen, but he'll be on the bench."

"For me he's still the best goal keeper in the league, he has brought us a lot of points. Another reason is to have him is to use him as an experienced person to support Birighitti and our squad."

Coolen admitted the Reds are in the middle of a massive form slump, taking only three points in five games. With that at the back of his mind, the coach remains wary of Sydney, despite the Blues firmly anchored to the bottom of the table.

"We are not at a good level at the moment," he said.

"They are bottom of the table at the moment but I've seen a couple of their games and everybody knows they are a real good team."

"They don't have a lot of confidence at the moment but they are still a good team. I saw their last game against Melbourne Heart on the DVD and I thought they were better."

"But sometimes you don't win every game when you're a better team. There is a fine line between winning and losing and they lost at the end of the game. They have a lot of quality and it will be a tough game for us."