The form that enabled Adelaide United to put four goals past Melbourne Victory in half an hour in their last meeting is gone, but Victory coach Ange Postecoglou says the talent remains.
The second-placed Victory will return to Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night to meet the Reds for the first time since United opened a 4-1 lead in 31 minutes on their way to a 4-2 win in December.
Much has changed since.
Adelaide have lost coach John Kosmina – last week appointing Michael Valkanis as caretaker – and lost their past three games, conceding nine goals in those matches.
The Victory, meanwhile, are flying on the back of three straight wins.
But Postecoglou, who admitted some coaching mistakes of his set the scene for the disappointing performance in their December meeting with the Reds, said Adelaide still remained capable of inflicting similar damage if given the chance.
“Obviously when you have a change of coach and there’s a little bit of instability there, it’s never great,” Postecoglou said.
“But once that whistle goes and the game starts, they’ve got some quality players there.
“They haven’t been where they’ve been all year without them being a good football side.
“You don’t go there expecting the worst – you go there expecting the best and their best is pretty good.”
The Victory have been forced into two changes, losing midfielder Mark Milligan to Socceroos duty and defender Nick Ansell to injury.
They will be replaced by Francesco Stella and Jonathan Bru in the starting line-up.
Adelaide have lost striker Bruce Djite to a groin injury.