April 24, 2015 09:59:53 UK
Michael Marrone has hinted Marcelo Carrusca and Awer Mabil could return for the final match of the regular season against Melbourne City.
The duo have been on the sidelines with quad strains, but trained strongly on Thursday.
Reports have suggested coach Josep Gombau might keep them back for the first week of the finals, rather than risk them in a game that means little. United already know they will be at home in an elimination final, against either City or Brisbane Roar, so there is little riding on Saturday’s result.
The Reds, who are 7.00 to win the Grand Final, may also opt to rest midfielders Isaias and Jimmy Jeggo at Coopers Stadium, as both are one booking away from suspension.
All four players have been named in the squad, though, and Marrone reckons Gombau will put out his first-choice side.
If Carrusca, who has missed the last three games, is declared fit it would be a boost to a United side anxious to avoid a third straight defeat. Adelaide are 1.90 to beat City, who are 3.60, with the draw 3.75.
“We never go into games trying to lose and we will still put out the strongest squad we have,” said Marrone. “We want to get some momentum going into the finals.
“Melbourne are going to be a very tough team. They’ve got some great players and if they can get it together like they did last time against us, they’ll be extremely tough to beat.”
That last meeting, at AAMI Park, saw United lead 1-0 at half-time through Pablo Sanchez’s goal, before City stormed back to win 3-1.
Marrone added: “Josep has been telling us all this week that once finals start it’s a whole new competition. So sometimes form goes out the window and you could be fifth or sixth, or third or fourth and still make a run into the final.”
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