Reds expect tough Victory clash

Adelaide United captain Travis Dodd admitted he is still expecting a physical encounter from bitter rivals Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday night, despite the absence of the visitors' talismanic captain Kevin Muscat.

Adelaide United captain Travis Dodd admitted he is still expecting a physical encounter from bitter rivals Melbourne Victory at Adelaide Oval on Friday night, despite the absence of the visitors' talismanic captain Kevin Muscat.

Muscat has been a constant thorn in United's side during their long and heated rivalry, including a touchline stoush with former Reds coach John Kosmina and more recently receiving his marching orders when Adelaide snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Victory with a 4-1 win last month.

But the 37-year-old's career has almost certainly come to an end after he was banned for eight matches after a sickening late tackle ended Melbourne Heart youngster Adrian Zahra's season.

Dodd denied Melbourne Victory were 'soft' without Kevin Muscat and said they still have a number of candidates ready to rattle opposition cages.

"I think (Grant) Brebner is still playing isn't he," he quipped.

"They are always physical clashes regardless of who plays so if nothing else we can expect it to be a tough game."

The Reds skipper said he expects the Victory to play within the rules of the game after recent accusations suggesting Ernie Merrick's men were 'thugs'.

Dodd added United will be looking to reproduce the same form that saw the Reds convincingly dispose of the Victory last meeting.

"We are going to go out and try and play football and try and entertain the fans and pick up three points along the way," he said.

"They have to play within the rules, they don't have a choice. I guess it's up to the referee at the end of the day to allow what he thinks if fair and pull back what oversteps the mark."

The 31-year-old said breaking the run of 10 consecutive losses to Melbourne was definitely the end of the hoodoo and his team-mates would need no motivation for another meeting against their nemesis.

While United haven't won in their last three starts, Adelaide's record games holder and goalscorer said they had still been promising.

Dodd said United were confident of a return to the winners' list on Friday night with the ultimate focus being the A-League crown.

"Personally it is definitely a monkey off the back to have that losing streak behind us now," he said.

"And I think, even though we haven't had great form in the last couple of games, we have played some good football so we can go into this game knowing that we can be confident of our chances of getting a win."

"We know we're a good footballing side and we're confident of our abilities out on the pitch so we'll turn things around."

"Coming to the back of the season, we know we're in the finals now, and we all want to win a championship so that is everyone's focus."