Jeronimo scored seven goals for the Reds last season. Picture: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
Adelaide United fans will be expecting big things when the Reds host Perth Glory on the opening weekend of the new A-League season on Sunday afternoon, with the club set to play an exciting brand of football under new boss Josep Gombau. The former Barcelona youth team boss has had little time to stamp his mark on the side, but 2-1 victories over the Melbourne clubs in the Reds last two pre-season matches mean that hopes are high at Coopers Stadium.
With Bruce Djite ruled out for four weeks with an ankle injury for up to four weeks, Jeronimo Neumann is likely to lead the line, although he and Michael Zullo must both prove their fitness after missing training during the week. New signings Sergio Cirio and Isaias Sanchez both arrived from Spain during the off season and will be an integral part of the new system their compatriot has implemented at the club.
Perth will also be without its main goalscorer for the start of the season, with Kiwi international Shane Smeltz still on the sidelines after undergoing hip surgery in the off-season. The 32 year-old is the leading scorer in A-League history, having found the back of the net 73 times in just 122 appearances and will be dearly missed by the Glory, who are also missing Travis Dodd through injury and lost Liam Miller and Dean Heffernan at the end of the last campaign. With Smeltz and Dodd unavailable, promising youngster Jamie Maclaren will lead the line for Perth.
These sides met on three occasions during the 2012/13 season and there was little to separate the sides, with two of the matches ending in a 1-1 draw and the other decided by a single goal. The round 16 fixture at Hindmarsh Stadium – now known as Coopers Stadium – resulted in a 3-2 victory for the home team and Reds fans would be happy to see a similar result to start the new campaign.
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