Experienced duo back for crucial Phoenix clash

Adelaide United FC is set to welcome back two of its seasoned foreigners for Friday night’s vital home game against the Wellington Phoenix.

Adelaide United FC is set to welcome back two of its seasoned foreigners for Friday night-s vital home game against the Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Reds Coach John Kosmina has named popular Brazilian left back Cassio and versatile Ukrainian Evgeniy Levchenko in the side to face the Phoenix, declaring the duo would both be in the starting eleven.

Cassio and Levchenko-s returns come after lengthy injury layoffs. Ironically, Cassio-s last game came against the Phoenix in Auckland back on November 19 last year, while Levchenko has only played 14 minutes in the Reds- last 14 games and has not started a game since Week 5.

A foot injury he suffered against Wellington saw Cassio take the decision to undertake the majority of his rehabilitation back in Brazil, the Reds- dual Club Champion returning to Adelaide in mid January and spending the last three weeks building up his fitness.

Having battled calf and groin problems, Levchenko-s recovery has gone quietly under the radar.

Levchenko is set to partner Nigel Boogaard in defence, the former Ukrainian international-s opportunity coming due to Daniel Mullen and Antony Golec being away with the Australian Under 23 squad.

While Kosmina understands it may take awhile for Cassio and Levchenko to readjust to the pace of the game, particularly against a Wellington side that is currently in red hot form, he is confident the experienced duo, who are both in their thirties, can do the job.

“Lev and Cassio will start tomorrow night and they-ve looked good on the track,” Kosmina said.

“I think keeping them out for a bit longer and not trying to rush either of them back and letting them do a mini pre-season has helped them.”

Heading into the match, the Reds find themselves four points out of the top six. Kosmina states the initial focus for the Reds is try and climb into sixth spot and he knows a win over Wellington is paramount if they are to be a chance of achieving it.

But while the Reds enjoy a formidable record over Wellington at Hindmarsh, having won six of their eight meetings at the venue, the Phoenix have won their last three matches and eight of their last 12 which has seen them rise to second on the table.

“At the moment I-d be happy with sixth. If we get to sixth then we have to look if we can get to fifth but that won-t happen by this weekend, we need to win against Wellington and that-s what we-ve got to do.

“Then we need to look at can we pick up three points next week and then three points the week after, and if you start worrying about other teams, and I know it-s an old cliché, you don-t want them doing us a favour, we-ve got to do ourselves a favour.”

Meanwhile, if striker Sergio van Dijk can find the back of the net against the Phoenix, it will be his 50th Hyundai A-League goal, the 2010/11 Golden Boot winner having netted 25 times for Brisbane Roar and 24 in 45 games so far for the Reds.

Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season - Week 18 Adelaide United FC v Wellington Phoenix Friday 3 February 2012, Hindmarsh Stadium Kick-Off: 7.30pm ACDT Referee: Gerard Parsons

Tickets: Available through Ticketek (call 132 849, online at www.ticketek.com.au) TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports 1 Radio: ABC Radio (891 ABC Adelaide, ABC SA, Grandstand Digital and online) Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #HALauwp)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 7.Zenon Caravella, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 13.Ricardo Da Silva, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Francisco Usucar, 30.Paul Izzo (gk) *one to be omitted*

In: Cassio (returns from injury), Paul Izzo (gk) (promoted), Evgeniy Levchenko (returns from injury) Out: Daniel Mullen (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Mark Birighitti (gk) (Qantas Australian U23 duty) Unavailable: Antony Golec (Qantas Australian U23 duty), Spase Dilevski (groin), Milan Susak (hamstring), Jon McKain (knee)

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Mark Paston (GK), 2.Manny Muscat, 3.Tony Lochhead, 6.Tim Brown, 7.Leo Bertos, 8.Paul Ifill, 9.Chris Greenacre, 11.Daniel, 15.Cameron Lindsay, 17.Vince Lia, 18.Ben Sigmund, 19.Jimmy Downey, 20.Tony Warner (GK), 21.Dani Sanchez, 22.Andrew Durante (c), 24.Alex Smith *one to be omitted*

In: Cameron Lindsay (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Lucas Pantelis (knee injury - indefinite). Nicky Ward (hamstring - two to three weeks)

Adelaide United vs. Wellington Phoenix - Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record Played 15 - 7 wins, 5 draws, 3 losses

30-Dec-2011… W 2-0… 2011/12 Wk 13 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 19-Nov-2011… D 1-1… 2011/12 Wk 7 (Eden Park, Auckland) 18-Feb-2011… W 1-0… 2010/11 Final Week 1 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 5-Feb-2011… L 0-1… 2010/11 Wk 26 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 5-Dec-2010… L 1-2… 2010/11 Wk 17 (AMI Stadium, Christchurch) 22-Oct-2010… W 3-0… 2010/11 Wk 11 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 30-Jan-2010… L 0-1… 2009/10 Rd 25 (AMI Stadium, Christchurch) 18-Dec-2009… D 1-1… 2009/10 Rd 20 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 4-Sep-2009… D 1-1… 2009/10 Rd 5 (Westpac Stadium) 18-Jan-2009… D 1-1… 2008/09 Rd 20 (Westpac Stadium) 5-Dec-2008… W 6-1… 2008/09 Rd 14 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 30-Aug-2008… W 3-0… 2008/09 Rd 3 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 30-Nov-2007… W 2-1… 2007/08 Rd 15 (Westpac Stadium) 28-Oct-2007… W 4-1… 2007/08 Rd 10 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 22-Sep-2007… D 2-2… 2007/08 Rd 5 (Westpac Stadium)

At Hindmarsh Stadium Played 8; Adelaide United 6, Wellington Phoenix 1, Draws 1

Last time they met in the Hyundai A-League 30-Dec-2011 Week 13, Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season at Hindmarsh Stadium Adelaide United FC 2 (Djite 17-, Golec 62-) Wellington Phoenix 0

Adelaide United last three results Wk 17. 29-1-12… L 0-3… vs. Perth Glory (Hindmarsh Stadium) MW 25-1-12… D 1-1… vs. Newcastle Jets (Carrington Park) Wk 16. 21-1-12… L 2-3… vs. Central Coast Mariners (Bluetongue Stadium)