Preview: Sydney FC v Adelaide United

What a contrast between these two sides. Sydney come into it beaming with confidence on the back of a couple of very good results of late while Adelaide are almost at rock bottom.

Date: Thursday, December 22 Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT, 7.30pm Local Venue: Sydney Football Stadium

Head-to-head Played 23: Wins: Sydney FC 10, Adelaide 10, Draws: 3

Previous encounter Adelaide 1, Sydney FC 2, October 22, 2011

History: Not much has separated these two proud clubs over the years with both recording 10 wins (with three draws) from their 23 previous meetings.

After losing all three clashes with the Reds in the 2010/11 season, Sydney finally stopped the rot earlier this season, coming from behind to win 2-1 at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Adelaide were on course for victory thanks to Dario Vidosic's early strike before second-half goals to Jamie Coyne and Nicky Carle gave the Sky Blues their first points of the season back in round three.

Form: Past five matches: Sydney FC: LLWDW Adelaide United: DDLDL

Sydney have worked themselves back up into a share of third spot on the table on the back of a three-game unbeaten run.

The Sky Blues' away form continues to impress with just one loss in their travels from seven matches, which included the 2-1 win over Newcastle last Saturday afternoon, howevere they need to improve their record in front of their home fans and a clash against Adelaide could be just the tonic.

While Sydney are on the up, Adelaide have been steadily on the decline and after their loss to Gold Coast United the Adelaide board finally lost patience with their under-performing squad, sacking coach Rini Coolen and replacing him with the club's inaugural boss John Kosmina.

Kosmina inherits a squad low on confidence, without a victory in their last five matches.

Match Committee: Sydney have been dealt a blow with in-form midfielder Nicky Carle unlikely to start due to a hamstring injury.

It means the likes of Mark Bridge and Terry Antonis who have missed the last three games are set to return to the squad this week. Bridge seems to have got over the back injury that has kept him on the sidelines while Terry Antonis will be itching to go after a three week break to recharge the batteries.

The only problem for those two though is the side have performed so well in their absence it's hard to see Lavicka making any unnecessary changes - aside from a replacement for Carle.

As for the Reds it's hard to know exactly how they will line up with Kosmina now at the helm. The new boss won't be afraid to drop players who aren't performing, regardless of reputation.

Brazilian left-back Cassio is still the only long-term absentee for the Reds. One thing is for sure, with Kosmina in charge whichever 11 players take the field will be sure to put in a committed performance.

Danger men: Bruno Cazarine - Cazarine has done a superb job leading the attack for Sydney in the absence of Bridge that the Brazilian must now be the Sky Blues' first choice attacker.

He is always a threat in the air and probably doesn't get enough credit for his work with the ball at his feet as well. His equaliser against the Jets last week was his third goal of the campaign.

Iain Ramsay - While there hasn't been much to like about Adelaide so far this season, you can never accuse Ramsay of not putting in.

The 23-year-old has easily been the Reds' best contributor so far. He's been forced to fill in at left-back a couple of times since the injury to Cassio and has done a serviceable job but will surely be a bigger asset for the team further up the park.

At the end of the day…

What a contrast between these two sides. Sydney come into it beaming with confidence on the back of a couple of very good results of late, while Adelaide are almost at rock bottom.

But this still looms as a real danger game for the Sky Blues for a couple of reasons. One is their disappointing home form so far this season and the other is the new coach factor, which often results in a win first up for that club. The key for Sydney will undoubtedly be their arresting their slow starts to matches, which continued last weekend before turning things around in the second half. If Lavicka's side can hit the ground running and grab an early goal, it may shatter Adelaide's already fragile confidence.

Just what kind of Adelaide side turns up is anyone's guess after all the happenings at the club in the last few days. Former Sydney boss Kosmina will demand work-rate, commitment and a never-say-die attitude from his players but whether that is enough given their current form is the big question.

The Reds still have one of the best squads in the league on paper and if Kosmina can get them playing near their best they will move up the table sooner rather than later. But this fixture may have just come around a bit too soon for Adelaide and their new coach. Sydney to win.