Reds expect tough clash

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen said he is expecting a fierce contest from the visiting Wellington Phoenix when the two sides meet at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night.

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen said he is expecting a fierce contest from the visiting Wellington Phoenix when the two sides meet at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday night.

Coolen admitted he is a keen admirer of his trans-Tasman rivals and enjoys watching them play 'nice' football.

The Phoenix have won three of their last five games and currently sit in sixth spot - eight points behind Melbourne Victory but with two games in hand.

Coolen said he has been impressed with Wellington's recent form and remains wary of a side looking to cement their spot in the finals.

"They've played real well in their games in the last weeks," said Coolen.

"They've improved every week and it's nice to watch to be honest. They are real good football players. Wellington are a tough team but also they play really well. It will definitely be a tough game."

"They're fighting for a position in the finals so we have to be prepared for tomorrow. But, that's every game. In this league there are no easy games, they're all tough games."

Wellington recorded a 2-1 win in Christchurch when the two sides met most recently, but it was the Reds who triumphed 3-0 in the last encounter at Hindmarsh Stadium, although not after a tough first half where the Phoenix clearly dominated.

United scored three goals in 10 second half minutes to secure victory and Coolen acknowledged there are periods during every game where the result can be determined.

The Dutchman used the Reds recent 8-1 demolition of North Queensland as an example, saying the Fury could have snatched an equaliser during a dominating 20-minute period after United took the lead inside the opening five minutes.

"That's what happens sometimes in this league," he said.

"I think we deserved to beat them last time, we were better than them. But, there were moments in the game where anything can change."

"Even in the game against the Fury where we won easily with eight goals, in the first 20 minutes they had good chances."

Coolen conceded there may only be one change from the side that drew 0-0 with Gold Coast at Skilled Park on Wednesday night, with defender Robert Cornthwaite suffering from a back complaint.

"I have to find out today how everybody pulls up," he said.

"The player with the most problems after last game was Robbie Cornthwaite - he has a problem with his back. We have to find out today how he is and take a decision."

The Reds boss tipped new signing, Croatian defender Dario Bodrusic to make his debut in place of Cornthwaite.

"More than likely Dario will be in the squad," he said.

"He's here to play, he's fresh to play. We haven't had a lot of football sessions with him but more than likely he'll be in the squad and there's a big chance he starts in the starting XI."