Preview: Sydney FC v Adelaide United

Historically there's never much between these two clubs – as the head-to-head record suggests - and this clash should be no different.

Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT Venue: Allianz Stadium, Sydney

Head-to-head: Played 25: Wins: Sydney 11, Adelaide 11, Draws: 3

Previous encounter: Adelaide 3-0 Sydney FC, December 31, 2012

Form: Past five matches: Sydney FC: WWLDW Adelaide: WLLLW

The Game: Historically there's never much between these two clubs - as the head-to-head record suggests - and this clash should be no different. Sydney are enjoying a better run of form and last weekend's 2-1 win over Brisbane saw the club move back into the top six for the first time since round four.

Frank Farina's side have lost just one of their last five matches and have won four in a row at Allianz Stadium. They will be forced into a few changes though with midfielders Brett Emerton and Ali Abbas joining Joel Griffiths on the suspended list following yellow cards against the Roar.

Skipper Terry McFlynn and Yairo Yau are available for selection again though. Adelaide snapped a three-game losing streak with a morale-boosting 1-0 over Melbourne Victory last time out. It was a first win for new coach Michael Valkanis and kept the Reds alive for a possible top-two finish.

Valkanis will be forced to watch this match from the stands though after picking up a one-game ban for abusing the referee last weekend. New signing Tomi Juric could be included in the squad. The Reds have won both clashes between the two sides this season, including a crushing 3-0 win on New Years Eve.

The Big Issue Sydney: The Sky Blues defence has struggled this season when faced with players that have a bit of pace and in Iain Ramsay and Evan Kostopoulos the Reds certainly have two players with plenty of that.

Sydney's back four will need to make sure they don't leave to much space in behind because Adelaide have the players that can exploit it, especially with Dario Vidosic and Marcelo Carrusca pulling the strings in midfield.

Adelaide: After a few weeks of controversy and upheaval, the Reds showed there is still plenty of fight in the side with their impressive win over the Victory last weekend. They played the entire match with plenty of commitment, enthusiasm and passion in front of their home fans.

The key for new boss Michael Valkanis will be getting his side to replicate that again on the road this weekend.

The Gamebreaker Alessandro Del Piero: Del Piero's strike in last week's win over Brisbane saw the Italian become the first Sydney FC player ever to score more than 10 goals in a season. And there's nothing to suggest the 38-year-old is done yet.

The Sky Blues' finals hopes rest very much on Del Piero's shoulders and he is continuing to deliver. He'll need to be at his clinical and creative best though against the Reds. Sydney fans are sweating on Del Piero re-signing with the club with a decision expected before the end of the month.

Prediction: Sydney 2-1 Adelaide Adelaide may have had the wood over the Sky Blues this season but there's no doubting Sydney are a much stronger proposition right now. They are extremely fit, playing with more belief and most importantly winning games.

The Reds will be buoyed by their win over the Victory last weekend and the absence of Emerton and Abbas certainly helps their cause. But Sydney have come to enjoy playing in front of their home fans again and with a chance to potentially put some breathing space between themselves and the chasing pack, the Sky Blues should edge this one.