Preview: Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory

Adelaide took over top spot on the Hyundai A-League table from Melbourne last week after the Reds downed Perth at Hindmarsh Stadium and Victory loss 2-0 home loss to Sydney.

Date: Friday October 31 Kick-off: 7:30pm in Adelaide, 8pm (AEDT) Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is FRESH FM (Adelaide) and SEN (Melbourne) 1116AM.

Head-to-head 13 A-League meetings: Melbourne Victory - 5 wins, Adelaide United - 5 wins, Draws - 3

Previous meeting Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Round 4, 2008

Past five rounds Melbourne: Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome Round 7: Melbourne Victory 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 9: Melbourne Victory 0, Sydney FC 2, Telstra Dome

Adelaide: Round 5: Sydney FC 3, Adelaide United 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 6: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 8: Queensland Roar 0, Adelaide United 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 9: Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 1, Hindmarsh Stadium


Adelaide took over top spot on the Hyundai A-League table from Melbourne last week after the Reds downed Perth at Hindmarsh Stadium and Victory loss 2-0 home loss to Sydney.

That was the Victory's third loss in the past four matches and the club has now dropped to third on the ladder, having led the competition since round three, while Sydney FC have moved up to second place following their win at the Telstra Dome last Saturday night.

Melbourne has now failed to score in three of its last four matches and coach Ernie Merrick admitted the club's recent spate of suspensions caught up with it last week when the Victory attack struggled without both Archie Thompson and Ney Fabiano.

Unfortunately both players still have one more week of their bans to serve and will miss the trip to Adelaide as will the injured Carlos Hernandez leaving Merrick short of attacking options with Tom Pondeljak likely to be pushed forward to play as a striker alongside Daniel Allsopp.

However Merrick says the club's lack of strikers at the moment is no excuse for another performance like last week's loss to Sydney pointing out his team still has a team capable of taking the game to Adelaide on Friday night.

And while Melbourne has only ever beaten Adelaide once at Hindmarsh, the home side is lining up for its 11th game in the past 50 days and surely the Asian Champions' League finalists will begin to feel the pinch from their gruelling schedule sooner or later.

With that in mind and with Melbourne desperate to bounce back from last week's loss to Sydney, expect the Victory to come away from a tough trip with at least a draw.

Melbourne Victory Squad. 1.Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18.Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22.Nick WARD, 24.Mathew THEODORE.

In. Mathew THEODORE (promoted from National Youth League). Out. Carlos HERNANDEZ (quad - 3 weeks). Unavailable: NEY FABIANO (suspended - 1 match), Nathan ELASI (international duty - 3 weeks), Sebastian RYALL (international duty - 3 weeks), Archie THOMPSON (suspended - 1 match).

Adelaide United squad: 30.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Angelo COSTANZO, 5.Michael VALKANIS, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.CRISTIANO, 13.Travis DODD (capt.), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 15.Jonas SALLEY, 19.Sasa OGNENOVSKI, 21.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 22.DIEGO, 25.Robert YOUNIS, 40.Lucas ANDREUCCI (gk). *Two to be omitted.

In. Jason Spagnuolo (returns from illness), Angelo COSTANZO (promoted). Out. Nil. Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (international duty), Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (groin - 1 week), Paul REID (groin - 1 week), Fabian BARBIERO (calf - 1 week), Paul AGOSTINO (calf - 4 weeks), Daniel BELTRAME (knee - season), Isyan ERDOGAN (hamstring - indefinite).

Victory memberships for the Hyundai A-League 2008/09 season are currently available from the Victory Shop, 236 Swan Street, Richmond, by calling 1300 GO MVFC or online by clicking here.