Coach John Kosmina is optimistic the Reds’ achievements to date in this year’s AFC Champions League can result in a bumper crowd for Tuesday's knockout Round of 16.
Adelaide United Coach John Kosmina is optimistic the Reds- achievements to date in this year-s AFC Champions League will result in a flood of public support and a bumper crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium for Tuesday night-s knockout Round of 16 match with Nagoya Grampus.
Adelaide born and the Reds- inaugural coach, Kosmina can attest to what can eventuate when the public of Adelaide and South Australia galvanise together to get behind one of their sporting teams, particularly in a match where there are such high stakes.
A Tuesday may not be the most ideal night of the week for a game of this significance, but Kosmina has witnessed first hand the atmosphere and energy the South Australian sporting public is capable of regardless of the timing.
Adelaide United is the only Australian team remaining in the prestigious Asian club competition and five days out from undoubtedly the biggest game since he took charge of the Reds back in December last year, Kosmina has challenged the people of Adelaide to turn out in their droves as proof of what club-s Asian journey has done for the State.
“If we get over 10,000 (at Hindmarsh) next week I think that speaks for itself and says what it has done for the game in this State,” Kosmina said when asked what effect the Reds- positive results were having on the round ball code.
“I think people have forgotten how successful Adelaide United has been and they-ve probably forgotten about the brand a bit because we didn-t have a very good domestic season.”
“That-s an unfortunate fact of sport in the 21st century - winners are grinners and people like winners and when you-re not winning, and that-s not just our code, people don-t turn up.”
In team news ahead of the do-or-die match, Kosmina declared defender Jon McKain would definitely be available despite having a modified training workload due to a sore achilles.
“He (McKain) is fine. He ran this morning and he-ll run again tomorrow before we start training on Saturday,” Kosmina said.
While he is certain on McKain-s availability, what Kosmina decides to do with his strike pairing of Bruce Djite and Sergio van Dijk and whether to go with one or two up front from the start is not as clear.
“It-s a tough one and I still go back to my favourite saying, ‘if it ain-t broke don-t fix it- so I-ve got to weigh it up,” Kosmina said.
“The change up with Serge last week was good but if you start him what-s to change up. You-ve got to look at it whether we can get ourselves in a situation where we want to lock a game up or want to go on with it and at the moment I-m leaning towards stability.”
One ally Kosmina has been able to call on to help him try and inflict Nagoya-s first defeat is good mate and Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold.
The Mariners were in the same group as Nagoya, the J-League club going through the Group Stage undefeated, albeit four of their six matches ending in draws.
One of Nagoya-s two wins may have been a 3-0 result over the Mariners in the final match day to sew up second spot, but Kosmina is not being overawed by the challenge ahead of the Reds.
“I watched them (Nagoya) against the Central Coast last week and had a good chat with Graham Arnold the other day, and they are a good side,” Kosmina said.
“They-ve got a couple of national team players and they played well, but having said that I think Central Coast could have got themselves back in the game after half time, and I think Arnie (Arnold) was probably disappointed with the way they conceded the two goals in the first half as well.”
“Any of the Japanese teams are beatable, they-ve got to make the trip (to Adelaide) and these are all things that can help us get on with the job, but the fact is we-ve got to get our heads in the right space before we go out there and if we do that then I think we-ve got every chance of being successful.”
Kick-Off is at 7.30pm AST and tickets are available through Ticketek.