Marco Kurz says his Adelaide United players will be ready for another gruelling battle with Sydney FC when the two sides meet at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
The Reds are currently on a two-match winning streak and will be determined that continues against the first-placed Sky Blues.
Adelaide comprehensively defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 2-0 at home last weekend, while Sydney recorded a 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar.
Kurz said he was pleased with the response from his players against the Wanderers following the Cup Final loss to Sydney over a week ago.
“I think the last game against Western Sydney was very important for us,” Kurz said at the pre-match press conference.
“The first thing was the performance and attitude from the boys – it’s not easy after the cup game.
“The first-half was very good, the only mistake was that we didn’t score enough goals.
“I was very happy that we won at home in our stadium and also that we played well and now we have two wins in a row.
“And I think it’s good for the boys to feel more comfortable and confident in their qualities.”
Kurz is anticipating another tough encounter with the ladder leaders, but insisted his side will not be intimidated.
“The quality of Sydney is so big,” he said. “You saw in the last game (against Brisbane) without Bobo and without their number ten (Milos Ninkovic) they played well.
“And now I think two or three players come back, that’s the best squad in the league.
“That’s the champions from last season, that’s the cup winner from this season and it’s the top team.
“But we are not scared and we are hungry for a good result.”
Defenders, Ben Garuccio and Michael Marrone, are both suspended with one-match bans.
Kurz admitted he prefers continuity in his defence, however acknowledged those omissions now present an opportunity for others in the team to step up.
“Maybe it’s not good to change the back-four line for me,” he said.
“Maybe it’s better you play every game with the same back-four line, but now we have a reason to change and we must change.
“Ryan (Strain on debut) did a good job last week and I think the player who’ll start on the left side will also do a good job.
“I still stay positive, Garuccio and Mickey can’t play and now it’s a chance for new players to play.”
In a positive boost for the Reds, Vince Lia returns to the squad after recovering from a knee issue. However, aforementioned, full-backs Garuccio and Marrone will miss the clash through suspension, while Johan Absalonsen and Taylor Regan remain ruled out with respective injuries. Tarek Elrich is absent with a long-term knee injury.
Last five meetings
2-0 loss @ Allianz Stadium
0-4 loss @ Coopers Stadium
0-0 draw @ Allianz Stadium
0-2 win @ Allianz Stadium
2-2 draw @ Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United host Sydney FC in Round 9 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Friday, 1 December at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.