Reds brace for another Mariners assault in semi-final

·2-min read
Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS

Adelaide United are bracing for another attacking assault from the Central Coast Mariners in their deciding A-League Men semi-final.

The Mariners, sitting on a one-goal cushion after a 2-1 win in the opening leg, host the Reds at Gosford on Saturday night.

And Adelaide captain Craig Goodwin predicts Central Coast will continue their attacking ways, rather than try to protect their buffer.

"I expect them to come out strong, especially at home in front of their fans," he told reporters on Thursday.

"That's the way they play and I don't think they're going to change that.

"At the same time, it's a one-goal deficit and we're very confident in the way that we play, the attack that we have, and we know that we can hurt them.

"They're going to come out really fast and we have to be ready for that, be ready for their press, but it's all about us and the way we play."

The Reds have lost midfielder Jay Barnett (hamstring) and striker Hiroshi Ibusuki (calf) for the remainder of the finals.

Ibusuki suffered a calf injury in last weekend's loss to the Mariners - his first start since recovering from an identical ailment - with Goodwin backing George Blackwood to fill the frontman role.

"It's a big game and to have someone like Hiroshi out is disappointing," Goodwin said.

"But we have got the depth in the side and we have to move on and focus.

"It won't change the way we play.

"We are true to the football we believe in. We have stuck with that all year and it has worked for us and helped us get to this point."

Goodwin has scored all three of Adelaide's goals in the finals series - two in the elimination of Wellington Phoenix, and one from the penalty spot against the Mariners.

The feats come in what the Socceroos winger described as his best season yet, despite carrying a groin injury for most of the campaign.

"I have gone from strength to strength over the last four or five years, I have found real consistency in my game," Goodwin said.

"This is definitely my best individual season.

"I have completed every session. I have noticed it (the groin) at times and it just depends as to which sessions I put more into.

"It has been difficult to manage it and it's in a spot where it will enjoy a rest.

"But I have got plenty left in the tank to put through in this next game and hopefully the final."