Reds keeper wary of desperate Mariners
Adelaide United gloveman Paul Izzo has warned his side they can't afford to be complacent against his former club Central Coast Mariners as the Reds look to close the gap on third-placed Melbourne City.
The Reds return to action this Saturday night, hosting the Mariners at Coopers Stadium after a weekend off due to the Hyundai A-League Split Round 20.
Marco Kurz's side is currently fourth, five points behind Melbourne City but have a game in hand on the team just above them on the ladder.
While a win will edge them closer to third spot, it will also give them added breathing space from the chasing pack to secure a top-four finish and home final.
In contrast, the Mariners are winless in their last 10 matches with their own finals hopes fast fading.
It's why Izzo has stressed to his teammates they can't afford to take the Gosford club lightly, especially with so much at stake for both sides.
“I know they’re hungry,” said Izzo, who joined the Reds from the Mariners at the star of the 2017/18 Season.
“From experience I know what their goals were this season and I think finals football was the absolute bare minimum.
“And obviously right now they’re not on track but it’s still very possible if they get a good run.
“They’ve come to Adelaide before and got points against us and we have to be wary of that.
“And at the same time we have to be wary of ourselves because it’s a big opportunity to push up.”
The Reds were given a few days off by Kurz before returning to training on Tuesday to prepare for the Mariners.
And with just eight games to go before the finals, Izzo admitted the weekend away from playing allowed the squad to recuperate ahead of the pointy end of the season.
“It’s probably the fullest squad we have had for a while now,” he said.
“It’s great that we had the weekend off and it’s good to just refresh and just enjoy a week off instead of going flat out for 27 rounds which is pretty grueling especially over the summer period.
“So it was a good time to refreshen up and get back on the pitch with a clear mind.”
Saturday night could also see the debut of new recruit, Slovenian striker Džengis Čavušević, who signed with the club last week for the remainder of the 2017/18 campaign.
“He’s a big strong boy and obviously a target man,”Izzo said of Cavusevic.
“From what I’ve seen this week he looks to use his body a lot and is a good physical player.
“I think we have a fantastic change room, we obviously accept everyone whoever it is,” he added.
“We mingle a lot and the boys are great so he fitted in like a glove.”