Rees out to stop Fred

Kristian Rees probably still has nightmares of the day Fred tore Adelaide United to shreds in the 2007 Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Kristian Rees probably still has nightmares of the day Fred tore Adelaide United to shreds in the 2007 Hyundai A-League Grand Final.

Archie Thompson might have bagged five goals in Melbourne Victory's 6-0 rout of the Reds, but it was the Brazilian midfield maestro who served four of them up to him on a silver platter.

Rees was an unused substitute for Adelaide, but he saw first-hand from the sidelines just how dangerous Fred, who now captains Melbourne Heart, can be when he's allowed to run amok.

So you can forgive the Gold Coast United stopper for wanting to take a few extra precautions when Fred returns to the Heart's line-up in Sunday's match at Skilled Park.

"You could say he almost single-handedly tore us up down that right side in that Grand Final. Archie got all the goals but Fred was his main supplier," Rees said.

"I've got some pretty bad memories of him and it looks like he's in that sort of form again. He has copped a few injuries, but when he's on the pitch he really lifts their team."

"He's going to be tough to stop. He's going to get the ball and he's going to get some space, he's that sort of player."

"You've just got to keep your shape and hopefully the boys in midfield can put enough pressure on him so that he doesn't get as much of the ball out wide and up front," Rees said, who turned 32 yesterday.

"It's about working hard as a team and doing the job, staying organised and trying to nullify him as much as we can,"

There could be a few changes at the back for the Glitter Strip club this weekend, with Sunday's game looming as an intriguing clash between two sides who have recently taken a liking to three-man defences.

Gold Coast boss Miron Bleiberg has flagged a potential return to a back four against the Heart to give his men a numerical advantage in coming up against the Heart's likely three-pronged attack of Mate Dugandzic, Eli Babalj and Rutger Worm.

With James Brown set to return from a minor ankle injury, he said he could potentially bring the young gun back into the side as a replacement for one of their three centre-backs.

Given captain Michael Thwaite is certain for a start; Bleiberg will have to choose between in-form centre-halves Ante Rozic and Rees if he opts for the tactical shift.

Despite the inherent 'luxury' of such a selection issue, it's one the United coach will take no pleasure in.

"It's a possibility. Browny could come in as one of the centre-backs, or he could come in for one of the strikers," Bleiburg said.

"But as a coach, it's one of the unpleasant things about the job."

"You have to give bad news to someone every week. It's part and parcel of the job and its part of the job I enjoy the least."