Adelaide coach John Kosmina plans to stick with the same winning formula for their top-of-the-table clash with Central Coast Mariners despite as many as four absentees.
Adelaide United coach John Kosmina plans to stick with the same winning formula for their top-of-the-table clash with Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Saturday despite as many as four absentees.
The league leaders will be without Socceroos Osama Malik, Eugene Galekovic, and the injured Dario Vidosic and Marcelo Carrusca, while the Mariners require some reshuffling of their own with Mat Ryan and Tom Rogic also called up for Australia's opening East Asian Cup match with Hong Kong.
Both will be without their number one keepers - Ryan (Mariners) and Galekovic (Adelaide) - but Kosmina insisted United, who have lost only once in eight games, would make do.
The Mariners trail Adelaide by two points with their coach Graham Arnold quick to wave away the favourite tag, a claim Kosmina said he expected.
"Arnie's (Arnold) good at trying to fly under the radar and play things down but they were premiers last year and I think he forgot to mention that," he said.
Vidosic is the Reds' primary concern but would not have lined up in any case due to a medial ligament strain that also ruled him out of the Socceroos' clash.
"If he (Vidosic) was fit we'd have taken him with us and tested him tomorrow morning and if he'd passed that he'd have played but he's not," Kosmina said.
"Marcelo is out with a calf, Dario's out, Eugene's out and I'm going to start Brucey (Bruce Djite) because we need a bit of muscle against these guys because they're a bigger side.
"There is four changes."
The robust Djite will start up front with Kosmina mindful of Central Coast's physical style of play.
"Bruce has done exceptionally well when he's come on and from that perspective I think he'll do a job for us against the likes of Patrick Zwaanswijk and Trent Sainsbury," he said.
"Every game is physical but it's how you deal with it.
"You've gotta be able to compete to a certain point physically but if they are bigger and stronger than us we'll have to play football."
Kosmina confirmed Zenon Caravella would start in Vidosic's place with Fabian Barbiero to come in for Carrusca (calf).
A final point of difference Kosmina made between the two high-flying teams was the raft of changes Adelaide had made to its squad over the past 12 months.
"Arnie has been with that squad for three years and they haven't had a lot of changes.
"We've got a lot of changes this week but if you look at the new faces in the squad that didn't start this season - Iain Fyfe, Daniel Bowles, Marcelo Carrusca, Jeronimo Neumann, Evan Kostopoulos wasn't in the squad 12 months ago."