AAP Soccer

United keen for belated Adelaide A-L clash

By AAP Newswire

Western United and Adelaide United belatedly get reacquainted for the first time since the pre-season for an A-League clash timed to have a significant bearing on their championship hopes.

A scheduling quirk mean despite 15 rounds being played, the sides, who are separated by just two points, do not meet until Sunday at Melbourne's Whitten Oval.

Still, Western United coach Mark Rudan is confident he knows what lies in store, despite being unfamiliar with the match venue before his fifth-ranked side host seventh-placed Adelaide.

"We've analysed them quite clearly, and we played them in pre-season so we had a decent look at what philosophy their coach wanted to implement," Rudan told AAP.

"We've seen a lot of their games recently. We've found a lot of areas we believe we can expose as well so we've put together a game plan."

Rudan would have preferred to train at the Western Bulldogs' headquarters before the contest, though doubted it would be an issue .

"We tried to get onto the ground but unfortunately external factors didn't allow us to do that," he said.

"But it's no different to Geelong and Ballarat - we don't train on those pitches either."

Western United will give Alessandro Diamanti every chance to prove his fitness after he limped off less than half an hour into last week's win over the Mariners, but the playmaker is in some doubt to feature.

"Obviously he was a bit sore. He's had his own rehab throughout the week so he hasn't trained with the group," Rudan said.

"With players like Diamanti you always give them until the last minute but we tend not to take risks on players."

Adelaide counterpart Gertjan Verbeek highlighted the need to be patient against Rudan's side.

"(We need to) be patient early. They have a lot of players behind the ball when they lose the ball - they go four back, 5-2-3 - even the three strikers are behind the (centre) line so you have not a lot of space," he said.

"They want to try to score from transition so we have to be aware of that."

STATS THAT MATTER

* Adelaide United are the only team Western United FC are yet to face in the competition. Western United FC have failed to score a goal in three of their past four games against new opponents.

* This will be the first A-League game played at Whitten Oval. Western United FC have lost four of their past six games played in Victoria and won two.

* Adelaide United have lost five of their past seven away A-League games and including their past three on the bounce. The last time they lost more in succession was a six-game stretch from April to November 2015.