Reds begin massive month with Heart marathon

Adelaide United FC opens its first of six huge January encounters with a tough assignment against a red hot Melbourne Heart.

Adelaide United FC opens its first of six huge January encounters with a tough assignment against a red hot Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday 4 January 2012) as part of the Hyundai A-League-s Marathon Round.

As the second match in the Hyundai A-League Marathon, which will see five games played back to back, United goes into the clash having restored a level of confidence following last Friday night-s home win over the Wellington Phoenix.

New Reds coach John Kosmina has secured four out of a possible six points in his first two games in charge, but taking on a Heart outfit that put Sydney FC to the sword away from home no doubt looms as his toughest challenge so far.

The Heart-s form has resembled Adelaide-s scorching weather of the past couple of days, John van ‘t Schip-s team on a five game winning streak that has seen them shoot up to second on the table.

Kosmina gives the Heart credit where it-s due, and knows they will take some stopping if the Reds are to head back from Victoria with something from the game.

“They-re a very solid side, they-re well structured, they-re disciplined and they work very well as a unit, and that-s what we have to be aware of,” Kosmina said of the Heart.

“If you went player for player is there much difference between the two sides - I don-t think so, but in terms of how their structure is and how cohesive they are, they-re probably a little bit ahead of us.”

Tomorrow-s match is the second in a string of three games in nine days for the Reds, who return home from Melbourne to host reigning champions Brisbane Roar at Hindmarsh on Saturday.

While it could be easy to subconsciously look ahead with such little time between matches, Kosmina is continuing to instil the simple and often clichéd ‘one game at a time- focus during this hectic period.

“I-ve been happy with what we-ve done on the park this week. It-s a short turnaround from last week and it-s an even shorter turnaround to Brisbane on Saturday, but it-s one step at a time, we-ll look at what we can do against Melbourne Heart tomorrow and go there and try and get a result, and then we-ll worry about what we do against Brisbane after that,” Kosmina said.

The Reds boss has made two forced changes from the side that defeated the Phoenix, with Iain Ramsay returning from suspension to replace Spase Dilevski, who has a groin injury, while youngster Jacob Melling, who only officially became part of the squad on New Years Day, is likely to take up a place on the bench for Jon McKain.

McKain copped a heavy knock to the knee against Wellington and together with the impending birth of his and his wife-s third child, Kosmina decided not to risk taking the defender to Melbourne.

“I-d hate to take Jon to Melbourne and think he may have to fly back first thing Wednesday morning or get a phone call before the game, so you take that out of the equation,” Kosmina said.

“Also, his knee could do with another day or two rest and then he-s available and fully fit for Brisbane on Saturday night.”

Scheduled to kick-off at 3.15pm (AEDT) under the summer sun, Kosmina admits the time is not ideal, but is confident his squad will be able to go the distance.

“It does, but what do you do,” Kosmina answered on whether he is concerned by the kick-off time.

“You can-t change it so you just deal with it, you get on with it. I-m not going to change training so that we trained at 3pm this afternoon to match up because for me that doesn-t make any sense, you get less recovery time, so we trained as we normally do, their (the players-) bodies are in a fairly normal routine except that they-re kicking off at 3pm instead of 7pm…it-s no different for Melbourne (Heart).”

Trying to halt the Heart-s charge followed by hosting the Roar on Saturday, the teams sitting second and third on the ladder respectively, Kosmina and the Reds are sure to have a gauge of how far they have come in the past fortnight and how much further they need to go once Sunday comes around.

Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season - Marathon Melbourne Heart v Adelaide United FC Wednesday 4 January 2012, AAMI Park Kick-Off: 3.15pm AEDT (2.45pm ACDT) Referee: Kris Griffiths Jones

TV: Live and exclusive on FOX Sports 1 Twitter: https://twitter.com/adelutd_fc (hash tag #HALmhau)

Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Daniel Mullen, 7.Zenon Caravella, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk), 21.Francisco Usucar

In: Iain Ramsay (returns from suspension), Jacob Melling (promoted), MArk Birighitti (gk) (promoted) Out: Spase Dilevski (groin - 1 week), Jon McKain (knee - 1 week), Paul Izzo (omitted) Unavailable: Cassio (ankle), Evgeniy Levchenko (groin)

Melbourne Heart squad: 1.Clint Bolton (GK), 2.Michael Marrone, 3.Brendan Hamill, 4. Simon Colosimo, 6.Matt Thompson, 7.Rutger Worm, 9.Maycon, 11.Alex Terra, 15.David Williams, 16.Aziz Behich, 17.Jason Hoffman, 18.Curtis Good, 19.Eli Babalj, 23.Mate Dugandzic, 25.Adrian Madaschi, 30.Sebastian Mattei (GK) *one to be omitted*

In: Maycon, David Williams (all promoted) Out: Fred (groin 1-2 weeks) Unavailable: Jonatan Germano (hamstring - 1 week), Nick Kalmar (back - 4 weeks), Kliment Taseski (foot - indefinite), Wayne Srhoj (quad - 1 week)

Adelaide United FC vs. Melbourne Heart - Hyundai A-League HEAD TO HEAD Record: Played 4 - 2 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw

4-Nov-2011… D 1-1… 2011/12 Wk 5 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 17-Dec-2010… L 1-2… 2010/11 Wk 19 (Hindmarsh Stadium) 19-Nov-2010… W 2-0… 2010/11 Wk 15 (AAMI Park) 20-Aug-2010… W 3-2… 2010/11 Wk 3 (Hindmarsh Stadium)

At AAMI Park Played 1; Adelaide United 1, Melbourne Heart 0, Draws 0

Last time they met 4-Nov-2011 Week 5, Hyundai A-League 2011/12 Season at Hindmarsh Stadium Adelaide United 1 (Dilevski 78-) Melbourne Heart 1 (Hamill 49-)

Adelaide United last three results Wk 13. 30-12-2011… W 2-0… vs. Wellington Phoenix (Hindmarsh Stadium) Wk 12. 22-12-11… D 2-2… vs. Sydney FC (Sydney Football Stadium) Wk 11. 16-12-2011… L 0-3… vs. Gold Coast United (Hindmarsh Stadium)