The Glory and the Reds have had some cracking battles over the course of the Hyundai A-League's six seasons to date.
Date: Sunday, October 9 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT, 4.30pm local Venue: NIB Stadium
Head-to-head Played 18: Wins: Perth 5, Adelaide 10, Draws: 3
Previous encounter Perth 4 - Adelaide 2, NIB Stadium, 22 December 2010
History: The Glory and the Reds have had some cracking battles over the course of the Hyundai A-League's six seasons to date. Last year, Adelaide posted 2-0 wins in both matches at Hindmarsh Stadium but the last time they met at NIB Stadium, the men in purple reigned supreme. Defender Robbie Cornthwaite was sent off in controversial fashion late in the match and it was Robbie Fowler who put home the resultant penalty that gave the Glory a rare moment to savour in a season of woe.
Pre-Season Form: Past five matches: Perth: WWWLD Adelaide: WDWDW
Both teams have been in reasonable touch over the long, long break. Perth have looked okay, despite going down to the Mariners and finishing 2-2 with Sydney FC a fortnight ago. Adelaide became one of few sides in recent memory to knock off Brisbane - albeit in a trial match - while they were held to draws by both Victory and Gold Coast. One thing's for sure though - new strike partnership Sergio van Dijk and Bruce Djite both have their scoring boots on at the moment, having knocked in a combined 17 goals in United's friendly matches in August and September.
Match Committee: Question marks remain over the fitness of Glory's Adam Hughes, who has been struck by what's been called a 'mystery illness'. But apart from that there are few injury worries on both sides of the fence for this one. Liam Miller and Dario Vidosic should both be right to go despite each having to deal with some hamstring issues.
Danger men: Travis Dodd - As fate would have it, in his very first match since swapping red for purple former Adelaide captain Dodd will take on his old teammates - and he has already declared his intent to push friendships to the side on Sunday. The 31-year-old's switch was controversial and, at the time, quite puzzling to the Reds faithful given that he still possesses the ability to turn a match on its head when he wants to.
Dario Vidosic - Once the dust settled from Dodd's departure from Hindmarsh, fans began to accept it the loss of their star skipper once it became apparent that Socceroo Dario Vidosic would be his direct replacement on the wing. Hungry for first-team action after years of benchsitting in Germany, Vidosic has been hampered by injury since touching down in Adelaide but is expected to play. As he's shown plenty of times before in green and gold, the 24-year-old is lively and inventive and will be the source of numerous defensive headaches in the A-League this term.
At the end of the day… We've heard it at the start of every Hyundai A-League season, haven't we, that this is going to be the one where Perth Glory finally come good. Last year was a disastrous one for the Western Australian club and Ian Ferguson has overhauled his roster to make sure it doesn't happen again, replacing the deadwood with some quality buys in the transfer market. Ex-Gold Coast utility Bas van den Brink is a proven defender at this level, former Celtic and Manchester United midfielder Liam Miller is a potential gamebreaker in midfield, and if he can supply the vital passes in the final third then it's mere formality that goal machine Shane Smeltz will finish them off. Everything is set up for the Glory this season but there is an incredible amount of pressure on Ian Ferguson to make sure everything goes according to plan and that they crack the finals.
First up is a difficult test against Adelaide, but what a way to kick off the new campaign than with a victory over a Reds side many are predicting to be champions? Of course, one swallow doesn't make a summer and one game won't make a season for Perth - but a win first up against an Adelaide side fancied by all will give Glory fans reason for enthusiasm going forward and give Fergie a bit of breathing space. That said, Perth were top of the table after Round 5 last season and then won just two of their last 24 games, so good starts aren't everything - but it would be a tidy psychological boost.
Of course, the Reds are standing in the way of that and, like Ferguson, there's a lot of pressure - though of a different kind - on Adelaide supremo Rini Coolen. The Dutchman has put together what looks like one of the strongest squads in the whole league. The jewels in the crown are newly-named skipper Jon McKain and lively attacker Dario Vidosic, but Sergio van Dijk will be as dangerous as ever and Andwele Slory has reportedly had one hell of a pre-season. With such an arsenal at his disposal, the expectation is that Coolen and Adelaide will take home the points. It's an expectation we agree with - the Reds should get up in this one, but don't be surprised if Perth mount a strong challenge.