Heart captain Fred has come back from injury recently. Image courtesy of Herald Sun/George Salpigtidis
Melbourne Heart is, without doubt, the Jekyll and Hyde team of the A-League. They are proving to be nigh on unbeatable at home, as evidenced by five straight wins at AAMI Park, but their road record is horrible, and only got worse when they went down 1-0 to wooden spoon candidate Wellington last weekend.
In recent times, Adelaide United has matched Heart stride for stride when it comes to inferiority on the road. The Reds have taken just two points from their last seven matches away from home, and that included a recent draw with Phoenix. Last week they were dominated at home by Brisbane and deserved to beaten by more than just a solitary goal. Adelaide was jostling for top spot at one stage, but it has now dropped to fourth, and that is where Michael Valkanis’s side is likely to stay given it has a game in hand on fifth-placed Newcastle which is still six point adrift.
The Reds’ cause hasn’t been helped by the suspension of Osama Malik, while attacking midfielder Dario Vidosic is in some doubt for the clash after suffering an ankle injury at training this week. Adelaide could also do with the strike power of Bruce Djite up front, but he remains on the sidelines, also with an ankle problem. Heart welcomes back striker Josip Tadic, who has six goals from 16 A-League appearances this season.
Not surprisingly given their respective records, the home team has won the previous two battles between these sides. Adelaide triumphed 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium in round 7 before Heart accounted for the Reds 2-0 at AAMI Park in mid-January.
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