Leckie returns to face rivals

Adelaide United will welcome back gun forward Matthew Leckie for the clash against fierce rival Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night after the 19-year-old was a late withdrawal from the Reds 3-0 win over Wellington last week.

Adelaide United will welcome back gun forward Matthew Leckie for the clash against fierce rival Melbourne Victory at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night after the 19-year-old was a late withdrawal from the Reds 3-0 win over Wellington last week.

Leckie was ruled out with swelling in his knee just hours before kickoff after having returned that same week from a successful Asian U19 Championship in China where the Young Socceroos finished second.

It comes as welcome news for United with Daniel Mullen sidelined for up to three weeks after injuring ligaments in his ankle during training on Tuesday.

"Physically he's ok otherwise we shouldn't take the risk," said Reds coach Rini Coolen on Thursday.

"We built him up real carefully and we haven't taken any risks with him in the last few days. He's 100 percent fit so he's not a problem for tomorrow."

Travis Dodd won't be risked however, despite the captain finding the back of the net against the Phoenix - his first goal since the Reds 3-2 win over Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the AFC Champions League in March.

In only his third appearance this campaign after groin surgery in the off season, Dodd limped off in injury time with an Achilles injury that has sidelined him for the Victory match.

Coolen decided against selecting Dodd admitting wants all his players fit for the 'long season.' "Travis is a little bit too much risk if he plays," he said.

"It's too risky and I don't know if he's ready for the next game but he will probably be a better chance. We have a lot of games to play and everyone has to stay fit. That's the reason we can't take the risk at the moment and he's not fit enough."

Coolen also admitted he was relieved to be able to re-sign Cameron Watson on a short-term contract to cover the loss of Mullen.

Watson had farewelled the Reds a fortnight ago after United's 0-0 draw with Gold Coast despite the Reds still having Lloyd Owusu (knee) and Nigel Boogaard (ankle) both on the long term injury list.

Coolen said Watson will slot straight into Mullen's full back role with the Olyroo out of action for at least three weeks.

"Watson was the first option that I thought about and I spoke with Michael (Petrillo) about that," he said.

"He knows everything about our system so it is a pity that he couldn't train with us for a few days but I don't see it as a big problem. I can just put him in the squad as usual and we're going to start with that team that played a lot of games together and that includes Watson."

"Mullen is out for a couple of weeks, I hope for not so long, but you never know how long it takes. I think at least four weeks, probably maybe longer, but it's not what I hope."