Preview: Adelaide United v Sydney FC

After losing its past two Hyundai A-League encounters and second spot, Adelaide United freely admits it's crunch time.

Date: Saturday November 22 Kick-off: 6.30pm local (7pm AET) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium TV: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 3. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit Head-to-head Past 12 Hyundai A-League meetings: Adelaide United - 3 wins, Sydney FC - 7 wins, Draws - 2.

Previous meeting Sydney FC 3, Adelaide United 0, Sydney Football Stadium, Round 5, September 20 2008

Past Five Games Adelaide United: Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 8: Queensland Roar 0, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 9: Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 10: Adelaide United 2, Melbourne Victory 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 11: Central Coast 3, Adelaide United 0, Bluetongue Stadium Sydney FC: Round 7: Sydney FC 1, Queensland Roar 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 8: Perth Glory 2, Sydney FC 1, Members Equity Stadium Round 9: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 2, Telstra Dome Round 10: Sydney FC 3, Central Coast Mariners 3, Sydney Football Stadium Round 11: Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney Football Stadium


After losing its past two Hyundai A-League encounters and second spot, Adelaide United freely admits it's crunch time.

With the Club World Cup sure to throw up more distractions in December and a busy January following, the team from South Australia has placed plenty of importance on picking up points in the next three weeks.

Adelaide's first challenge is against Sydney FC who have had its measure in recent encounters, including a 3-0 drubbing in Round 5.

United were dealt a blow with vice-captain Lucas Pantelis suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury against Central Coast last week but on the flipside Paul Reid, Kristian Sarkies and Daniel Mullen are among the players likely to get a run this week.

Reid, who was rushed back for the AFC Champions League final but missed the Mariners' game, is the biggest inclusion but Sarkies and Mullen also offer some depth to a tired squad.

Expect a big game from defender Sasa Ognenovski who makes his 50th Hyundai A-League appearance while skipper Travis Dodd will be keen to put some quiet performances behind him.

Sydney FC should be refreshed after having last weekend off but come to Hindmarsh Stadium with their own problems.

They've recorded just one win from their past six encounters and have recently said farewell to retiring captain Tony Popovic.

Jacob Timpano and Robbie Middleby's decision to sign with North Queensland and Iain Fyfe's desire to return to his home state may also be unsettling to a line-up which is desperate to revive its season.

That spark may just come from John Aloisi who is tipped to start on the pitch after being banished to the bench over the past three games. The demotion should have got the competitive juices flowing so expect him to be firing on Saturday night.

Steve Corica, who replaces Popovic as captain, will also be out to impress.

Adelaide United Squad. 20.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 6.CASSIO, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 16.Daniel MULLEN, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22.DIEGO, 24.Paul REID, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk). *3 to be omitted.

In. Daniel MULLEN (returns from international duty), Paul REID (returns from injury), Kristian SARKIES (promoted), Robert YOUNIS (promoted). Out. Lucas PANTELIS (knee - 4-6 weeks). Unavailable. Paul AGOSTINO (calf - 2 weeks), Daniel BELTRAME (knee - season), Isyan ERDOGAN (hamstring - indefinite).

Sydney FC Squad. 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 7. Rob MIDDLEBY, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 18. Adam CASEY, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 23. John ALOISI, 28. Bobby PETTA, 29. Beau BUSCH, 31. Antony GOLEC. *One to be omitted.

In. Adam CASEY (return injury), Rob MIDDLEBY (return injury). Out. Tony POPOVIC (retired). Unavailable. Simon COLOSIMO (groin - 2 weeks), Mike ENFIELD (knee - indefinite), Brendon SANTALAB (shoulder - 5 weeks), Nik TSATTALIOS (ankle - 1 week).