Coach Josep Gombau says his rebuild of Adelaide United is only halfway done as they prepare to host Central Coast in Friday night’s A-League match.
Coach Josep Gombau says his radical rebuild of Adelaide United is only halfway done, but he’ll now stop tinkering as the Reds embark on a season-defining A-League stretch.
Fifth-placed Adelaide could rise to third with a home victory against Central Coast on Friday night, the first game in a testing period for Gombau’s outfit.
The Reds play Melbourne Victory (away), Wellington Phoenix (home), Brisbane Roar (away) and Western Sydney Wanderers (away) after their tussle with the third-placed Mariners.
After just one win from their initial nine matches, Adelaide have banked 18 points from their past nine games – surging as they adapt to the possession-based plan of new manager Gombau.
The Spanish coach says while his rebuild is far from complete, he won’t try to implement any more changes this season.
“We are, I think, half of the way there,” Gombau told reporters on Thursday.
“There are more steps that we need to do, in terms of tactically.
“Now is not the moment to make changes because now is the most important part of the season.
“Next season, we have more movement tactically in things we need to change.
“And we will start to work this in pre-season, thinking the second year, that is when really I hope and wish the results will come.”
While Adelaide thumped Central Coast 4-0 in their last meeting in round 10, Gombau remains wary of the Mariners despite their recent forced changes from player transfers and injury.
“They are a team that have gone through a lot of changes,” Gombau said.
“They keep the intensity, they keep the way they play. But there are some new players who are in now, in the process to adapt to what the coach wants.
“It will be a difficult game.”
Central Coast has named Korean recruit Kim Seung-yong in their squad, hoping his transfer clearance comes on Friday.
Midfielder Nick Montgomery returns for the Mariners from a one-match suspension, while Adelaide defender Tarek Elrich is banned for the game after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season last start.
Gombau expects versatile Michael Zullo to slot into Elrich’s left-back role, with Spaniard midfielder Cirio to return to the starting line-up after coming from the bench last week in his return from a hamstring tear.