Head-coach, Josep Gombau, has said his Adelaide United side is more than ready to face Wellington Phoenix on New Year’s Eve at Coopers Stadium despite being without a number of players.
Captain, Eugene Galekovic (Socceroos squad), defenders, Nigel Boogaard and Tarek Elrich (suspension), and playmaker, Marcelo Carrusca (injury), will all miss the Reds’ Round 13 match.
But Gombau is of the strong belief that the players he will have available for the match will relish the challenge of coming up against an in form Phoenix squad that sits just one point below third placed United.
“Tomorrow is a good game and for us it’s like a challenge because we have a lot of players missing, but we have a vision in this club that one day we will play with a lot of South Australian’s and tomorrow we will have ten in the list – six will start in the first XI,” Gombau said.
“I think that it’s a good challenge for us to see these young players that we have and if they are ready in this moment to play.
“But honestly, I feel that we can be very competitive and I feel that we can win the game. This is what we want – to win this game and to finish this year at home (with a win).
“It’s also an important game because Wellington is just down one point behind us and it’s a game that we want to fight for to stay in a good position in the ladder.
“I am not worried because we (are missing) players because in the end this is football.
“We have this squad and everybody is working very well, everybody is working very hard. I trust in all the players that we have and tomorrow is time for these young players who are working for a long time with us to show that they are ready to play in the Hyundai A-League.”
When questioned about who would fill the role of captain for the match considering the absences of Galekovic and Boogaard, Gombau stated that striker, Bruce Djite, will step up and take the armband.
Yet Gombau also said that Djite won’t be the only leader on the pitch on Wednesday night, with the addition of many young players in the squad needing support from all the senior players.
“We decided in the beginning of this season that Djite was (one of our vice-captains). He will be taking this role with the group not just in the field but outside the field also.
“(Our) senior players always need to help young players when they start and make their first games.
“It is important and I think it’s part of the role when you have experience. One day they (the senior players) were these kids that are starting and the other teammates would have helped them.
"But this is something I don’t need to say (to the players). It is happening.”
Gombau also said his players know their jobs for the match and the injury sustained to Carrusca will see him out for the Wellington match at the very least, after scans confirmed a slight injury to the player’s groin.
Adelaide United will face Wellington Phoenix on New Years Eve at Coopers Stadium in Round 13 of the 2014/15 season of the Hyundai A-League on Wednesday, 31 December. Kick off is at 7.00pm ACDT. To purchase tickets, click here.
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
Adelaide United v Wellington Phoenix
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:00 PM (Local) (7:30 PM AEDT)
Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream
Assistant Referee 2: Paul Cetrangolo
Fourth Official: Rick Schneider
TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC Local Radio SA, Grandstand Digital, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvWEL
Adelaide United squad: 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 11.Bruce DJITE (c), 12.Mark OCHIENG, 13.Dylan SMITH, 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 24.Bruce KAMAU, 26.Anthony COSTA, 30.John HALL (GK), 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOPOULOS ***two to be omitted***
Ins : 12.Mark OCHIENG (promoted), 13.Dylan SMITH (promoted), 20.Paul IZZO (GK) (return from injury), 24.Bruce KAMAU (promoted), 26.Anthony COSTA (promoted), 32.Nathan KONSTANDOPOPOULOS (promoted)
Outs : 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (international duty – 2 matches), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD (suspended – 1 week), 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (groin – 1-2 weeks), 21.Tarek ELRICH (suspended – 1 week)
Unavailable : 5.Osama MALIK (calf – 1-2 weeks), 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (groin – 1-2 weeks), 22.Fabio FERREIRA (hamstring – 2-3 weeks), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)
Wellington Phoenix Squad: 1. Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Michael BOXALL, 7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 12.Tyler BOYD, 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA,18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c).
Ins: 2.Manny MUSCAT (returns from suspension), 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ (returns from injury), 12.Tyler BOYD (promoted)
Outs: 9.Nathan BURNS (international duty – 2 matches), 21.Roy KRISHNA (injury), Matthew Ridenton (omitted).
Unavailable: 21.Roy KRISHNA (hamstring injury).