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Fit-again Crouch boosts unbeaten Crows

AAP logoAAP 21/04/2017 Jason Phelan

Video provided by Ten News

It wasn't that long ago that Adelaide's supposedly thin midfield was considered their achilles heel.

But four weeks into the season, the Crows' on-ball brigade - led by Rory Sloane - has been a key factor in their barnstorming 4-0 start.

Coach Don Pyke added another weapon to his midfield mix for Saturday's clash against Gold Coast, with a new and improved Brad Couch replacing injured defender Jake Kelly.

Brad Couch will replace injured defender Jake Kelly. © Ten News Brad Couch will replace injured defender Jake Kelly. Injuries have meant the talented 23-year-old has only been able to show tantalising glimpses of what he's capable of in five seasons with Adelaide.

A pre-season hamstring injury was the latest in a long line of setbacks that caused club fitness staff to rethink their approach..

They didn't quite rebuild Crouch but eagle-eyed fans will notice a difference when he runs onto Metricon Stadium for his first game of the season.

"Obviously with his history, with some of the hamstring problems he's had, we did a fair bit of work in terms of strengthening through his core and lower-leg area," Pyke told reporters on Friday.

"So he's got a slight change to how he looks but he looks strong, he looks fit and he's ready to go.

"We're really confident he comes in in good form and with good fitness under his belt.

"We know the quality of the player ... we'll expect him to do what he normally does."

While Adelaide's midfield has been effective it's their vaunted attack that has drawn the rave reviews.

Eddie Betts and Taylor Walker have led the way with 16 and 11 goals respectively in the league's top-ranked offence.

Josh Jenkins (ribs) will sit out another week, but even without the imposing 200cm forward, limiting the Crows' multi-faceted forward line presents a major headache for Suns coach Rodney Eade.

Tall defenders Steven May (hamstring) and Rory Thompson (quad) will watch from the stands and Eade admits he doesn't want to expose his patched-up back line to too many one-on-one contests.

"(Adelaide) are exceptional in how they move the ball," Eade said.

"If we don't win the ball at the contest and put pressure on them it's going to be a very hard day."

Talented youngster Callum Ah Chee replaces May in a Gold Coast side that has found its mojo in the past fortnight with impressive wins over Hawthorn and Carlton.

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