Preview: Adelaide v Central Coast

It's now or never for bottom-placed Adelaide United which amazingly still has a slim chance of reaching the A-League finals this season.

Date: Friday, January 15 Kick-off: 7.30pm local (8pm AEDT) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1HD & 1 and Sky Sport 1. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is 107.9 Life FM (Adelaide). To purchase tickets visit www.venuetix.com.au.

Head-to-head Played 15: Wins: Adelaide United 6, Central Coast Mariners 5, Draws: 4

Previous meeting Central Coast Mariners 0, Adelaide United 0, Canberra Stadium, Round 13, October 2009

Past five matches:

Central Coast Mariners: Round 18: Central Coast Mariners 0, Melbourne Victory 3, Bluetongue Stadium Round 20: Central Coast Mariners 2, Brisbane Roar 3, Bluetongue Stadium Round 19: Sydney FC 1, Central Coast Mariners 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 21: Central Coast Mariners 0, Wellington Phoenix 2, Bluetongue Stadium Round 22: Central Coast Mariners 1, North Queensland 1, Bluetongue Stadium

Adelaide United: Round 17: Adelaide United 0, Newcastle Jets 2, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 18: Brisbane Roar 0, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 20: Adelaide United 1, Wellington Phoenix 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 21: Sydney FC 1, Adelaide United 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 22: Gold Coast 1, Adelaide United 1, Skilled Park

Analysis:

It's now or never for bottom-placed Adelaide United which amazingly still has a slim chance of reaching the A-League finals this season.

If it's good enough, United, which is at home for the next two games, can close the gap on eighth-placed Central Coast on Friday and then get within striking distance of sixth-placed Perth Glory on Tuesday.

If it can manage that then momentum will be on its side.

The Reds' Round-22 draw against Gold Coast suggests the team still has the general play and hunger to mix it with most sides.

However, their finishing, which has been a problem all season, again looms as their downfall.

Adelaide had seven more shots on goal than Gold Coast and should have buried its opposition before Shane Smeltz scored the equaliser in injury time.

And it was great to see Travis Dodd score for the first time since Round 1 but he'd be the first to admit he's still duffing too many opportunities.

Coach Aurelio Vidmar was pleased with the team's performance and will be reluctant to make too many changes.

Iain Fyfe, who was part of the defensive line-up that stifled Gold Coast last week, is in some doubt with an ankle injury but will be given up until the last minute to prove his fitness.

If he doesn't come up, Robbie Cornthwaite or Paul Reid might be brought back into the side after a stint in the National Youth League. Lloyd Owusu has also been included in the club's extended squad.

The Central Coast has also struggled in the second half of the season with its 1-1 draw against North Queensland earning it a point for the first time in six matches.

While the Mariners couldn't hold on for a win they did show some positives signs. Coach Lawrie McKinna was particularly pleased with the work rate of strikers Nik Mrdja and Matt Simon while Dean Heffernan also put in a good effort after his trip to Kuwait with the Socceroos.

And Chris Doig was another who impressed after returning from injury.

It's tipped the Mariners will enter this clash with an unchanged line-up but Matthew Crowell has been included in the squad just in case McKinna wants to tinker.

Their push for stability is a positive sign they are on the rise but the desperate Reds need this more.

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 9.CRISTIANO, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 16.Inseob SHIN, 17.Michael MARRONE, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN

In: Robert CORNTHWAITE (promoted), Lloyd OWUSU (promoted), Paul REID (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: ALEMAO (hip - 1 week), Kristian SARKIES (quad - 1 week), Joe COSTA (knee - long term injury list

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Matthew CROWELL, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 5.Brad PORTER, 7.John HUTCHINSON, 8.Dean HEFFERNAN, 9.Nik MRDJA, 11.Dylan MACALLISTER, 14.Michael McGLINCHEY, 15.Andrew CLARK, 16.Nigel BOOGAARD, 17.Chris DOIG, 18.Alex WILKINSON (C), 19.Matt SIMON, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 23.Adam KWASNIK.

In: Matthew CROWELL (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Nicky TRAVIS (illness - 1 week)