Preview: Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets

Friday, August 6, 7:30pm ACST

Date: Friday, August 6 Kick-off: 7:30pm ACST Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium

Head-to-head Played 19: Adelaide United 9, Newcastle 5, Draws 5,

Previous Meeting Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Round 27, 2009/10, Energy Australia Stadium,

History Both Adelaide United and Newcastle coughed up points at home last season with the Jets winning 2-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium before the Reds ran out 2-1 victors at Energy Australia Stadium on the last day of the campaign.

Pre-season: Adelaide United: ACL Round of 16: Adelaide United 2, Jeonbuk Motors 3, Hindmarsh Stadium 7/7/10: Adelaide Galaxy 0, Adelaide United 2, Con Makris Park 16/7/10: Adelaide United 2, Wellington Phoenix 0, Hindmarsh Stadium 23/7/10: Adelaide United 1, Perth Glory 3, Hindmarsh Stadium 30/7/10: North Queensland Fury 1, Adelaide United 0, Brolga Park, Townsville

Newcastle Jets: 8/7/10: Melbourne Heart 1 Newcastle Jets 2, La Trobe City Stadium, Morwell 14/7/10: NBN State League XI 1, Newcastle Jets 3, Darling Street Oval 18/7/10: Sydney United 0 Newcastle Jets 2, Edensor Park 25/7/10: Newcastle Jets 0, Brisbane Roar 1, Port Macquarie Regional Stadium, Port Macquarie 28/7/10: Rockdale City Suns 0, Newcastle Jets 4, Bicentennial Park

Match Committee Adelaide United will start their season without their talismanic captain, Travis Dodd, who is at least a month away from returning to the Reds' line-up. However, they'll be buoyed by Eugene Galekovic's return in last week's trial against North Queensland Fury. The league's No.1 shot stopper underwent minor surgery to clean out his knee and will be fit for the opening match of the campaign and clearly better off for his World Cup experience with the Qantas Socceroos. The Reds have only two out-and-out strikers on their list in Sergio van Dijk and Lloyd Owusu and for the second season in a row are without a marquee signing. Newcastle have added some class to their squad with the signings of former Socceroo Kasey Wehrman, ex-Sydney FC rookie Ruben Zadkovich and Kiwi international, Jeremy Brockie. Zadkovich returns from a two-year stint with Derby County in the English Championship. Although injury plagued his stay with the Rams, he'll offer plenty of attacking intent to the Jets while the inclusion of Wehrman and Brockie has coach Branko Culina tipping plenty of goals this year for Newcastle.

Danger men Marcos Flores has a full pre-season under his belt and there should be no questions over his fitness and ability to run out a full 90 minutes. The Argentine has the nous to split open defences and glimpses of his brilliance were evident in his 10 or so appearances for United at the end of last year. The creative playmaker orchestrates United's attack from the middle of the park and can control the tempo of the match. The Reds have sorely missed a true No. 10 and Flores is certainly someone who can pull the strings for United. Striker Sergio van Dijk will be most looking forward to how Flores starring, with the Dutch-born marksmen looking to link up with the South American and develop a prosperous partnership. The Jets, meanwhile, have plenty of attacking firepower of their own, as well as lots of pace going forward. Zadkovich will give Newcastle plenty of width and will look to get as many balls into the box as possible with the winger also able to play a defensive role if need be. The speedster will be well supported by Michael Bridges who has tipped himself to be playing a 'libero' role through the middle of the park. Culina looks set to allow his captain a chance to roam free behind the strikers allowing the former England U/21 international plenty of creative freedom.

Where the game will be won The Reds and Jets appear very evenly matched and could line-up with a very similar looking squad on Friday night. United have speedsters Matthew Leckie and Iain Ramsay out wide while a lot will depend on how much freedom Flores has. He is the one to start the Reds' attacking forays, but has sometimes found it difficult to shake some tight marking. Ljubo Milicevic will marshal the Jets' defence, leading the younger players around him and hoping not to get stretched by the Reds' speedy wingers. Bridges will play in his new 'libero' role and be Newcastle's key to unlocking Adelaide's back four.

Teams:

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS (c), 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES, 12.Paul REID, 16.Inseob SHIN, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 24.Cameron WATSON

Unavailable: 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE (groin - 2 weeks), 13.Travis DODD (knee - 4 weeks), 14.Lloyd OWUSU (knee - indefinite), 18.Fabian BARBIERO (ankle - 4 weeks)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Kasey WEHRMAN, 8. Michael BRIDGES (c), 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13.Sash PETROVSKI, 14. Labinot HALITI, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jeremy BROCKI, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC, 19. Ali ABASS, 21. Brodie MOOY, 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk) *six to be omitted*

Unavailable: 20. Neil YOUNG, 9. Zhang SHOU