Adelaide United midfield duo Dario Vidosic and Marcelo Carrusca will return for the clash against bitter rivals Melbourne Victory.
The pair have recovered from injuries that kept them out of last week’s top-of-the-table loss to Central Coast and will slot straight back into the starting 11 with Zenon Caravella and Fabian Barbiero expected to drop to the bench.
Vidosic damaged a medial knee ligament following a crunching tackle from Sydney FC midfielder Ali Abbas in the 2-1 win over the Sky Blues two weeks ago and was subsequently ruled out of the Socceroos’ East Asian Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong.
Carrusca was a late withdrawal from the side that travelled to Gosford to face the Mariners after succumbing to a troublesome calf injury.
United coach John Kosmina confirmed the playmakers would start against the Victory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.
Despite Vidosic and Carrusca’s extensive history with injuries, Kosmina said there no was element of risk in rushing either into the side.
“I’ve looked at having Marcelo and Dario available … they got through a full week of training and I was happy with how they went,” Kosmina said.
“Both of them have been passed medically fit. Dario was probably OK last week but he felt a bit of pain so it wasn’t worth the risk.
“Marcelo could have got worse (if he played against Central Coast), but with the training he’s done this week, there’s no way he should re-injure it.
“If he does, then he does, but he’s declared himself fit and available. He’s a professional and I’ll take his word for it.
“They can do a job for us and gives us a little bit more dynamism because of the types of players they are.”
Beyond Vidosic and Carrusca’s return, out-of-favour striker Sergio van Dijk is axed once more from the squad after being a late inclusion to the bench last week.
According to Kosmina, van Dijk still has a part to play but has found himself behind fellow forwards Bruce Djite, Jeronimo Neumann and versatile pair Iain Ramsay and Barbiero in the pecking order.
Djite will again lead the attack after scoring his first domestic goal of the season in just his third start for Adelaide against the Mariners last Saturday.
In another first, former Adelaide United cult hero Marcos Flores will appear for the Victory at Hindmarsh for the first time since he departed last year to play in China.
Kosmina played down the significance of the return and was not concerned with the reaction the Argentine will receive from the Reds faithful.
“Marcos is Marcos. For me he’s just another Melbourne Victory player, a guy in a blue shirt we have to watch out for,” Kosmina said.
“If the crowd want to boo him, they want to boo him. If they want to cheer him, they can cheer him, I don’t care.
“That’s not what we are here for. We are here for the guys in the red shirts.”