Six-pointer for the Reds

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen said the Reds' clash against Gold Coast United at Hindmarsh Stadium is a six-pointer with the visitors hot on Adelaide's heels in third spot, four points behind but with two games in hand.

Adelaide United coach Rini Coolen said the Reds' clash against Gold Coast United at Hindmarsh Stadium is a six-pointer with the visitors hot on Adelaide's heels in third spot, four points behind but with two games in hand.

A win at home to the Reds on Friday night will open up a seven-point gap and temporarily strengthen their grip on second spot while a Gold Coast victory will see Miron Bleiberg's men close to within a point and potentially leapfrog Adelaide by five points if they record wins in their games in hand.

Coolen acknowledged results against other teams in the title race at this stage of the season are effectively six-point fixtures after losses to Melbourne Victory and runaway leader Brisbane Roar in the past month.

"This is again a game like the last few weeks," he said.

"If you prefer to stay where we are and keep the pressure on the top and join them until the end of the season, these are the weeks where you have to get your results."

"If it's a game against a team that is around you (on the ladder) it's a kind of six point game, so it's really important. We're not too focussed on that though, we know it's the way it is if you prefer to stay on top."

The Dutchman is keenly plotting the demise of GCU, who have only lost once this season, after a brilliant tactical performance in the 2-0 win against Melbourne Heart last week.

Coolen admitted GCU were loaded with individual talent but said the key to victory would be how the Reds executed their own game plan and performed as a team.

"They have a lot of quality players and you have to be careful and respect the quality of the opponent," he said.

"It's always a team performance and it's hard to put one or two players out of the game, sometimes you have to though, of course."

"At the moment, we know our plan for tomorrow but the most important thing is always how we play with our own squad when we have the ball and it's good to pay more of our attention to that."

The Reds welcome back defender Daniel Mullen who has missed the last three weeks with an ankle injury while Lucas Pantelis will play despite limited training this week after injuring his knee in an innocuous stepover against the Heart.

Both will start from the bench as United also regain the services of hard-nosed midfielder Paul Reid who returns from suspension.

Reid will slot straight back into the midfield with Joe Keenan ruled out of the Gold Coast match after a stomach injury sidelined him this week.

"Luckily there are a few players back like Daniel Mullen. He's good enough to be with us tomorrow for the squad on the bench," he said.

"Lucas Pantelis didn't train with us the whole week, but he'll be with us tomorrow in the squad. More than likely he will start from the bench because he can do something for us during the game but he's definitely not good enough for 90 minutes."

"Joey was one of the best players in the midfield last week. He had a problem during half time but he could play for 90 minutes. The reaction after that day was not so positive."

"He got better during the week but he has a little problem in his stomach and normally it takes two weeks. It's probably the best decision not to take the risk so we can't play with him. It's not good for our team, not good for Joey. So if we let him go for two weeks then he will be ready for the weeks after."