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Marrone and Reds play A-League catch-up

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/01/2017 Steve Larkin

Adelaide United defender Michael Marrone is much like his A-League team - playing catch-up.

Marrone runs out against Wellington on Sunday in Adelaide for just his fourth game of the season after overcoming an achilles injury, suffered in last season's grand-final triumph.

And while Marrone admits trying to catch up on fitness with the rest of the league, Adelaide also are trying to make ground on the top six of the competition.

The Reds enter Sunday's home game with just two wins and in ninth spot, some eight points behind the sixth-placed Phoenix.

"We will keep fighting until it's not possible to make the top six," Marrone told AAP.

Marrone's absence coincided with a dismal title defence, with the Reds scoring only 12 goals in 16 games this season after losing a large chunk of their championship-winning team.

"It has been a bit of a rough year for the boys, especially after the success last year," he said.

"Once you have won it once, fans and the club, and I guess yourselves, expect a lot more than the position we're in. It's disappointing.

"This league is all about momentum and, once you get a bit of momentum, anything can happen.

"Because of the salary cap, any team, like ourselves unfortunately, can go from being top to near bottom. It's just the way football is in Australia."

But the right-back said revival was still possible - if the Reds could keep it simple and maintain possession.

"Our best chance of winning is when we have got more of the ball than the opposition," he said.

"If we can keep the ball and control the play and set the tempo at home, then we will be a really good chance because we're still a good team - we're just not playing anywhere near where we can or should be."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Wellington have been scoreless and haven't beaten Adelaide in their past four matches

* The Reds are chasing consecutive wins at home for the first time since last season's grand final

* Only two Adelaide players, the now-departed Sergi Guardiola and Henrique, are multiple goal-scorers this season; Wellington have four

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