Preview: Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets

These sides last met way back in round eight and much has changed since then.

Date: Wednesday, January 25 Kick-off: 8pm AEDT, 8pm local Venue: Carrington Park

Head-to-head Played 20: Wins: Adelaide 8, Newcastle 6, Draws: 6

Previous encounter Adelaide 0, Newcastle 0, November 25, 2011

History: These sides last met way back in round eight and much has changed since then. The Reds for one have a new coach in John Kosmina and have discovered some confidence despite their last-start loss.

The Jets have won just twice in 12 games away to Adelaide but all those matches were played at Hindmarsh Stadium, with this Reds home fixture taking place in Bathurst as part of the A-League's regional round of fixtures.

Form: Past five matches: Adelaide: WWDDL Newcastle: DWLDL

John Kosmina's dream start to his coaching return at Adelaide hit its first speed bump with the narrow 3-2 defeat to league leaders Central Coast on Saturday.

It was still another impressive performance from the Reds but it means they've only picked up two points out of a possible nine and still find themselves out of the top six. With plenty of teams lurking around the bottom half of the finals spots, this looms as a must-win for Kosmina and the Reds if they are to keep themselves in the race for the top six.

The Jets just can't seem to get anything going this season. Even there once resolute home form is starting to wane and it means they can't get themselves moving up the ladder.

It's taking longer than expected for van Egmond to implement his style of game on his squad and it will probably mean they won't be playing finals football this season. There's no doubt, however, they'll be desperate to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to Wellington on Friday night.

Match Committee: The Reds have had a fairly settled squad in recent weeks with few of their long-term absentees ready to return. Cassio (ankle) and Jon KcKain (knee) are probably the closest to playing again but this game has probably come too early for both of them. Milan Susak (knee) and Evgieny Levchenko (groin) are both also still unavailable.

Similar story for the Jets, with little changes expected to the squad that lost to Wellington. Experienced midfielder Kasey Wehrman is still on the outer with coach van Egmond but youngsters Jacob Pepper and Ben Kanterovski have been strong in midfield anyway. They will need to start getting goals from the likes of Michael Bridges, Ryan Griffiths and Jeremy Brockie to have a chance in this one.

Danger men: Sergio van Dijk - it's amazing what a new coach can do to re-invigorate some players. The veteran Dutch striker looked old and disinterested under Rini Coolen earlier this season but is now one of the hottest strikers in the competition since Kosmina took over.

Van Dijk's partnership with Bruce Djite is the most powerful in the competition and he has scored five goals in his four games, a big part of the Reds' mid-season revival.

Ben Kennedy - It might seem a bit strange for a goal-keeper to be regarded as a danger for the Reds but in Newcastle's case, they need their gloveman to be at his best if they are to pull off a win here. The Jets have struggled for goals of late meaning Kennedy will probably have to keep a clean sheet for Newcastle to get the win.

After struggling with injury earlier in the campaign, the Jets' No.1 has been in strong form of late and seems to be thriving since new goal-keeper coach Bob Catlin came to the club a few months ago.

At the end of the day… If either of these sides have designs on making the finals this season, then this is a must-win clash. Adelaide are currently four points and Newcastle five behind sixth-placed Sydney FC, with this representing their game in hand over the Sky Blues.

Quite simply, win and find yourself right on the cusp of the finals, lose and it's going to be extremely difficult to make up the ground going into the last third of the season.

Adelaide come into this one on the back of their first defeat in six games but their confidence shouldn't have been dented too much after pushing league leaders Central Coast all the way. There is a new-found verve to the Reds' play and they will still be confident of closing the gap on the top six over the closing months.

Newcastle haven't been playing terribly but they just can't seem find the goals when they are on top in matches. It's a factor that has made them inconsistent this campaign and must be extremely frustrating for their coach and fans alike.

The Jets have a woeful record away to Adelaide but with this game played in NSW and not the City of Churches, it won't have any effect on them at all. What will have an effect is the quality of performance and at the moment the Reds are just playing that little bit better with individuals in better form and with more confidence. Reds to win.