Preview: Gold Coast United v Melbourne Heart

The Heart have never beaten Gold Coast United - in fact, they've only ever put one goal in total past Miron Bleiberg's men in their three meetings to date.

Date: Friday, 18 November 2011 Kick-off: 8.00pm AEDT, 7.00pm local Venue: Skilled Park

Head-to-head Played 3: Wins: Gold Coast 1, Heart 0, Draws: 2

Previous encounter Heart 1, Gold Coast 1, 19 January 2011

History: The Heart have never beaten Gold Coast United - in fact, they've only ever put one goal in total past Miron Bleiberg's men in their three meetings to date. It came in the last match between the two sides back in January this year at AAMI Park, when Bruce Djite cancelled out Alex Terra's opener to split the points. John van 't Schip's men would have taken something out of their brilliant first-half performance, though, and would be keen to replicate it on Friday.

Form:

Past five matches: Gold Coast: DLWLL Melbourne Heart: LDDDW

Summary of form: The Coast and Heart are currently the A-League's cellar-dwellers, even if we're only six weeks into the season. Miron Bleiberg's men are dead last, which is unchartered waters for the boys for the Glitter Strip - they have put together some nice passages of football, but have just the one victory to show for it. The same can be said for the Red and Whites who are just above them on the table, but they looked like they might be on the precipice of getting it right last week in their breakthrough win over Newcastle.

Match Committee: National team selection comes as a reward for players, but a curse for their clubs. Aurelio Vidmar and the Olyroos came knocking this week and that means that United will be without boom youngster James Brown and defensive utility Dylan McGowan, while the Heart will miss Mate Dugandzic, Jason Hoffman and Aziz Behich. On the flip side, United's Josh Brillante and Heart's Curtis Good are available for selection after returning from Young Socceroos duty. Injury will keep Gold Coast trio Chris Broadfoot, Ante Rozic and Joel Porter on the sidelines for at least another week - along with Alex Terra - but Heart will regain former skipper Simon Colosimo from suspension.

Danger men:

Maceo Rigters - The dynamic Dutchman has been kept quiet by an ankle knock for the past two weeks. With James Brown away on Olyroos duty, United will now turn to Rigters to provide the goals they need to win. As he showed earlier in the season against Brisbane and Newcastle, opposition sides cannot afford to give the former Blackburn marksman even an inch of space, or he'll make them pay.

Fred - With his hamstring woes well and truly behind him, the new Heart captain was in fine touch last week against Newcastle. The Brazilian playmaker was central to his side's second-half demolition of the Jets, scored his first goal for his new club and looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.

At the end of the day…

United and Heart have both played some fantastic football this year, but they've been unable to grind out results while doing so. Indeed, between them they have just two wins - meaning that Friday's match is an important one for both parties. With a number of players either injured or away on international duty, Gold Coast's newfound youth policy will come under the microscope this week. Can players like Mitch Bevan, Golgol Mebrahtu and Josh Brillante get the job done at A-League level? For Melbourne Heart, the question is whether last week's win just a one-off - or can they put that sort of form together on a consistent basis? With Alex Terra injured and two of their goalscorers against the Jets unavailable, the task is a difficult one for the Red and Whites - but they're at least capable of holding United to a draw.

Teams:

Gold Coast United Squad: 1.Glen Moss [gk], 2.Josh Brillante, 3.Michael Thwaite (c), 4.Zac Anderson, 5.Kristian Rees, 6.Paul Beekmans, 7.Golgol Mebrahtu, 8.Robson, 10.Tahj Minniecon, 12.Dylan Macallister, 14.Ben Halloran, 15.Adama Traore, 16.Maceo Rigters, 20.Jerrad Tyson [gk], 21.Daniel Severino, 22.Peter Jungschlager, 29.Mitch Bevan. *two to be omitted*

Melbourne Heart: 1.Clint Bolton, 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill, 4.Simon Colosimo, 5.Fred (c), 6.Matt Thompson, 7.Rutger Worm, 8.Kristian Sarkies, 9.Maycon, 10.Wayne Srhoj, 13.Jonatan Germano, 15.David Williams, 18.Curtis Good, 19.Eli Babalj, 25.Adrian Madaschi, 30.Sebastian Mattei