Jordan O’Doherty says Adelaide United are primed and ready for their crucial AFC Champions League away clash against Japanese giants Gamba Osaka on Tuesday night.
With Adelaide’s Hyundai A-League 2016/17 season finished, the Reds have now switched their attention solely on their two remaining Asian Champions League (ACL) matches.
A win over Gamba could see the Reds progress to the last 16 of Asia’s premier club competition with a game to spare, if Jeju United lose to the already qualified Jiangsu Suning.
Guillermo Amor’s men, currently second in Group H with four points, will be looking to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament for an Australian record forth time.
O’Doherty said the team are relishing the challenge of facing their Japanese opponents, and desperate to put behind a frustrating domestic campaign.
“It’s good to have Asian Champions League, because it gives us something to look forward to,” O’Doherty said.
“Obviously we’re still alive and have a very good chance to keep going.
“We’re very eager, it’s obviously very disappointing to finish the way we did this year in the A-League.
“So we’ve got a very good opportunity to progress and we just need to give it our best shot and see how we go.”
But Adelaide will be somewhat understrength for the clash, missing centre-backs Dylan McGowan and Taylor Regan as well as midfielder Riley McGree through suspension.
“We have a few players suspended, so we’re going to have to change the team around,” he admitted.
“We have been working on it this week in training so we’ll just continue how we have been training.
“We’ll take it into the game and hopefully that will be good enough to beat them.”
However, the 19-year-old is confident whoever fills the voids left by the absent trio will be sufficient replacements.
“They’re all very important players in our team,” he said.
“But there’s lots of players to fill in and we have a bit of squad depth.
“Obviously there’s going to have to be some young players that have to come in and do their job, but we’re very confident they will do.”
The Reds suffered a 3-0 home defeat on matchday one to Gamba and O’Doherty stressed it would be another tough test.
“They’re (Gamba) a very good side, all of the Asian sides that we have played so far are very good teams with lots of good players,” O’Doherty said.
“They all set up well and are a very disciplined, so they’re going to be hard to break down.
“But we have shown we can do it against the other Asian teams.”
O’Doherty was also delighted to see so many Reds fans attend the open training session on Friday morning and thanked them for their continual support.
“Obviously it’s been a disappointing season for us as a team but also for the fans,” he continued.
“They’ve come out to every game and supported us, so they want to see their club win and we haven’t done that as much as we’d like to.
“It’s been great to have the fans’ support all season and it’s great to see them out today.”Adelaide United will face Gamba Osaka in their fifth AFC Champions League 2017 group stage match on Tuesday, 25 April at the Suita City Football Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.30pm ACST.