The Reds against all odds have endured. They have a great run into the finals, but ultimately they may not have quite enough starch in the finals.
Team: Adelaide United
Current position: Third | 36 points
The run home: Roar (H), Heart (A), Jets (H), Mariners (H), Glory (A)
The question: Can Valkanis add a finishing touch? Playing three of your last five games at home is a gift to Adelaide United, especially considering their wayward away form. Now they have to make the most of it.
Michael Valkanis, interim coach in his first time in the big chair, has been handed the keys to the season by John Kosmina-s good work. Adelaide have a good squad; solid, experienced and capable of excellent performances. And they had enough of a points buffer when Valkanis took over to all but assure a place in the finals.
What remains to be seen is whether the young coach has the nous to guide his team through the high-pressure end of the season.
The big match: Round 24 v Melbourne Heart Let-s assume, for the sake of this argument, that Adelaide have what it takes to put the final nail in Brisbane Roar-s season - which would mean the trip to Melbourne, to take on the Heart on home ground, would shape as a belter.
John Aloisi-s side proved against Sydney that they can inflict real damage when they-re in their comfort zone and Adelaide-s away record has been almost as bad as their hosts.
If the Reds want a home final they will have to withstand Heart-s desire to claim a place in the top six.
The Player: Dario Vidosic The sometime Socceroo has been outstanding at times this season. But he also has a tendency to go missing when his team needs him most.
There-s no doubting his ability and he could serve as a talisman for the Reds, if he can only add consistency to his arsenal.
We say: Adelaide-s inconsistency all but rules them out of a grand final this season but if they can keep hold of third place and claim that home elimination final, they could go closer than perhaps any team that loses a head coach in such acrimonious circumstances more than halfway through the season should do. But Heart, the Mariners and a trip to WA will decide that.
Prediction: Fourth | 41 points