Defender Nigel Boogaard believes the Reds can get on a roll heading into the finals with victory over the Central Coast Mariners on Sunday.
Adelaide United defender Nigel Boogaard believes the Reds can get on a roll heading into their finals campaign with victory over Sunday's opponents and fellow top four combatants, the Central Coast Mariners, in the penultimate round of the Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season.
The Reds will square off against the second placed Mariners at Hindmarsh Stadium in a contest that shapes as a preview to the finals series, of which United will host a Week 1 Elimination Final against a yet to be confirmed opponent on April 7.
Although the Reds were left to rue a last minute disallowed goal denying them all three points against the Newcastle Jets last Friday and dashing any outside hopes of sneaking into the top two, Boogaard said the focus among the camp was on ending the regular season with two good results and gathering some consistency and momentum ahead of the cutthroat finals series.
"We really need to start hitting some form and maintaining that consistently because come finals you really want to be firing,” Boogaard said.
"We need to try and get on a roll starting against the Central Coast this week and then carry that into Perth (next Saturday) so come finals time we are in some good form."
Depending on the result between the league leading Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC on Saturday night, the Reds could face a Mariners outfit still in with a chance of claiming a second straight Premier-s Plate.
Despite the Central Coast winning just five of 11 games since the start of the New Year while they have also been through some off field financial drama this week, Boogaard, who made 55 Hyundai A-League appearances for the Mariners, said the Reds must remain wary of a team that has continued to be one of the league-s benchmarks.
"They (the Mariners) have obviously got great depth in their squad to still be able to be in the position they are with not great results in the past month and a half,” Boogaard said.
“It shows the quality they-ve got, so we definitely won't be taking them lightly on the weekend."
"They are well balanced … defensively they are very well organised and hard to break down, while going forward they've got some boys who can really push you on the counter-attack with some pace out wide and they-ve got guys up front who know how to find the back of the net."
Indeed, the Mariners have proved a major bogey side in recent times. The Reds- last win over the team from Gosford came back in September 2009, while the Mariners have won the last seven meetings between the sides.
Desperate to break the hoodoo, Boogaard said the Reds must concentrate on their own game plan and remain patient if they are to be in front at the final whistle.
"They are a very organised team and no matter who they put on the park they are going to be tough, but I think for us it's about doing what we need to do well to get the result," Boogaard said.
"It's just a matter of us concentrating on what we need to do when we have possession, keeping it and waiting for the right time to attack.”
"We also need to be solid defensively because when we defend well we usually get a result."
The Reds will be without captain Eugene Galekovic and classy Argentinean playmaker Marcelo Carrusca for the clash, but it is somewhat balanced out with the Mariners also without their first choice keeper Mathew Ryan and talented New Zealand international Michael McGlinchey.
Positively, the Reds are set to welcome back Bruce Djite from an ankle injury, the robust forward a strong chance to play his first game time since the start of February.
Kick-Off is at 6.30pm ACDT and a reminder there will be a curtain raiser with the Make A Wish charity match featuring Adelaide United WAGS and a host of Adelaide-s female celebrities kicking off at 4.45pm. Gates open at 4.30pm and tickets are available through Ticketek.
Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season - Week 26 ADELAIDE UNITED FC v CENTRAL COAST MARINERS Sunday 24 March 2013, Hindmarsh Stadium Kick-Off: 6.30pm ACDT Referee: Shaun Evans
Tickets: Available through Ticketek (call 132849, online at www.ticketek.com.au) TV: LIVE & Exclusive on Fox Sports 3 Radio: 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC SA, Grandstand Digital, online and on the ABC Smartphone App Twitter: twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #REDSvCCM)
Adelaide United squad: 3.Nigel Boogaard, 4.Jon McKain, 5.Iain Fyfe, 6.Cassio (c), 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 14.Cameron Watson, 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 19.Jake Barker-Daish, 20.Paul Izzo (gk), 21.Jeronimo Neumann, 22.Fabio Ferreira, 23.Evan Kostopoulos, 25.Tomi Juric, 30.John Hall (gk) *Two to be omitted
Ins: Bruce Djite, Daniel Bowles, Evan Kostopoulos, John Hall (gk) (all promoted) Outs: Eugene Galekovic (gk) (international duty - Socceroos), Marcelo Carrusca (groin - 1 week) Unavailable: Osama Malik (ankle - 1-2 weeks)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 2.Daniel McBreen, 3.Joshua Rose, 4.Pedj Bojic, 5.Zachary Anderson, 6.Patrick Zwaanswijk, 7.John Hutchinson (c), 8.Adriano Pellegrino, 9.Bernie Ibini, 11.Oliver Bozanic, 13.Brent Griffiths, 15.Brad McDonald, 16.Trent Sainsbury, 17.Anthony Caceres, 18.Nick Montgomery, 19.Mitchell Duke, 20.Justin Pasfield (gk), 21.Mile Sterjovski, 29.Nick Fitzgerald, 30.David Bradasevic (gk) *Four to be omitted
Ins: Pedj Bojic, Adriano Pellegrino, Brad McDonald, Anthony Caceres, Mile Sterjovski, David Bradasevic (gk) (all promoted) Outs: Mathew Ryan (Gk) (international duty - Socceroos), Michael McGlinchey (international duty - New Zealand) Unavailable: Adam Kwasnik (knee - season)
Adelaide United vs. Central Coast Mariners - Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record Played 24 - 6 wins, 6 draws, 12 losses
At Hindmarsh Stadium Played 11; Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 4, Draws 4
Last time they met in the Hyundai A-League 25-Jan-2013 Week 18, Hyundai A-League 2012/13 Season at Bluetongue Stadium Central Coast Mariners 3 (Duke 68-/72-, McGlinchey 88-) Adelaide United FC 1 (Bowles 39-)