Barbiero ready to step it up for battle at the top

Fabian Barbiero is relishing the prospect of Saturday’s clash with the Central Coast Mariners, not only because it pits first against second but also because he is in the running to be called into the Reds’ starting eleven.

Adelaide United FC midfielder Fabian Barbiero is relishing the prospect of Saturday-s clash with the Central Coast Mariners in Gosford, not only because it pits first against second on the Hyundai A-League table, but also because he is in the running to be called into the Reds- starting eleven.

Since he missed the opening round of the season through suspension after being red carded in the 2nd Leg of the AFC Champions League Quarter Final, Barbiero has found it difficult to break back into the Reds- starting line up, which could be mainly put down to the club-s early success.

He has started on the bench in the past two encounters, playing a total of just 29 minutes, but with playmaker Dario Vidosic set to miss the match against the Mariners, the door to a starting eleven berth has opened up.

The 28 year old is one player in line to replace Vidosic, who was ruled out of the Qantas Socceroos squad after suffering a minor knee injury in the win over Sydney FC last Friday night.

Whether he is given the nod by Coach John Kosmina to fill the void left by the Reds- number ten, Barbiero intends not to leave any stone unturned in putting his name up for consideration, knowing all too well the importance of making the most of any and every opportunity.

“Dario has been outstanding this season so far. He-s just been unlucky with a little injury he-s picked up…but we-ve got a lot of boys who can step up, we-ve got a lot of depth, so hopefully one of us gets our chance and we take it,” Barbiero said.

“I think it-s important for any player that gets their opportunity to keep it and take their chance.”

“If given the chance I-ll do my best. Dario is a great player, so I-ll just have to step up. I-ve played a lot of games so hopefully I can slot in and do the job for the team.”

Of the Reds- other two players named in the provisional Socceroos squad, Osama Malik could be available for the Reds if he is not picked in Holger Osieck-s final 20-player squad.

On the other hand, captain Eugene Galekovic is all but certain to miss Saturday-s game, as is Mariners counterpart Mathew Ryan, the pair being the only two goalkeepers to be selected in the national squad, meaning the top of the table clash will intriguingly see both clubs missing their respective first choice keepers.

Galekovic-s absence for the next two games means either 17 year old reserve keeper Paul Izzo or Youth Team gloveman John Hall, aged 18 will be given the responsibility between the posts.

The last time Galekovic was not in an Adelaide United starting line up was against Brisbane Roar in Round 23 of last season (23 March 2012), while prior to this weekend he had missed just two of the Reds- past 52 games in all competitions.

But even without the Red-s inspirational leader, Barbiero has faith in the ability of Galekovic-s understudies between the posts, whoever it ends up being.

“It-s a tough one. We-ve got a couple of young boys that are fighting for a spot, so obviously it-s up to the coaches as to who will start, but they can both do the job so we-ve got all confidence in them.”

“They-re doing well at training, so they-ll be a little bit nervous but it-s a spot up for grabs, so I-m sure they-re excited as well.”

The Reds were put through their paces in a taxing training session at Santos Stadium this morning four days out from their highly anticipated date with the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium.

From Barbiero-s perspective, the hefty session was as much about tuning up the players- minds as their bodies for the challenge that lies ahead as the Reds aim to maintain their place at the summit.

“It was quite warm today. The boys certainly felt it, we haven-t had a hot day like this for awhile and Kossie put on a bit of an extra session at the end…it-s to get us mentally stronger,” Barbiero said.

“They (the Mariners) are well drilled, it-s going to be a real test and it is always hard playing against them in Gosford.”

“I-m definitely up for it and I think the whole team is. We want to stay top, I think we deserve to be top and we want to finish top at the end of the season.”