Previews Friday’s Australian A-League clash between Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The Australian A-League returns to action this week, with Brisbane Roar hosting Adelaide United on Friday.
There are five points separating the two teams in the table, although Brisbane do have a game in hand on their forthcoming opponents.
Having collected their first league win of the season by beating Sydney FC 3-1 at Kayo Stadium last month, the break for the World Cup came at the worst possible moment for Brisbane Roar.
After winning three Australian A-League Championship titles between 2011 and 2014, Brisbane recorded their worst league finish for 34 years by finishing second from bottom in the table last season.
However, Warren Moon has held onto his role as head coach, with the 40-year-old desperately hoping that any momentum gained from his side’s victory last time out has not been lost during the division’s month-long break.
Former Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin will be hoping to pick up from where he left off having opened the scoring during the Lions’ win against Sydney, with the 33-year-old seemingly adapting to life down under in no time at all.
Adelaide United, meanwhile, were almost certainly even more aggrieved regarding the timing of the season being paused, having won three successive matches before the break.
Head coach Carl Veart, who scored seven goals in 18 caps for Australia during his playing career, has undoubtedly improved the Reds’ standing in Australia, having secured a fourth-placed finish last season.
The 52-year-old will be hoping to guide the club to only their second ever Australian A-League title after their maiden triumph in 2016, although Melbourne City appear to be a tough act to follow having only dropped two points from their opening six matches.
First things first, Veart will be determined to ensure that his side’s strong run prior to the break does not go to waste, as they look to record a fourth consecutive victory in Queensland on Friday.
Brisbane Roar Australian A-League form:
Brisbane Roar form (all competitions):
Adelaide United Australian A-League form:
Brisbane had no players involved at the World Cup at all, so Moon should have a full squad to select from against Adelaide on Friday.
The former Lions FC boss utilised a 5-4-1 formation when guiding his team to their first league win of the season last time out, with Austin set to lead the line once more.
Adelaide, meanwhile, could be without their captain and attacking talisman Craig Goodwin after his involvement with Australia in Qatar.
The Socceroo’s were only knocked out at the round-of-16 stage by Argentina on Saturday evening, meaning that George Blackwood may receive a starting opportunity while Goodwin is rested.
Central defender Nick Ansell is expected to remain sidelined due to an Achilles tendon rupture.
Brisbane Roar possible starting lineup:
Freke; Hingert, Neville, Aldred, Courtney-Perkins, Armiento; Knowles, O’Shea, Trewin, Mileusnic; Austin
Adelaide United possible starting lineup:
Gauci; Lopez, Popovic, Warland, Kitto; Blackwood, Alagich, Isaias, Juande, Halloran; Ibusuki
We say: Brisbane Roar 1-1 Adelaide United
We can envisage both teams being a little rusty after the break for the World Cup, with both managers likely to settle for avoiding defeat upon their return.
As such, it would be no surprise to see a share of the spoils be the ultimate outcome in Brisbane on Friday.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.