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Syd FC prepared for hungry, winless Reds

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/11/2016 Emma Kemp

It's not lost on Sydney FC that struggling Adelaide have amassed as many A-League points as the runaway leaders have dropped.

Yet, the Sky Blues refuse to take Saturday's top-versus-bottom clash lightly, wary it was about this time last season that Guillermo Amor's defending champions starting firing.

The Reds had three points after seven rounds in 2015-16, one more than the two they've accrued in the same period of this, so far horrendous campaign.

After eight games, they were still tied to the bottom of the table, but Sydney centre-back Alex Wilkinson is mindful of what happened next - a 14-match unbeaten run that ended with the premiership-championship double.

And, he said Graham Arnold's undefeated Sky Blues, who dropped their first two points in last weekend's draw with Brisbane, were prepared to host a team low in confidence but even hungrier for a win.

"Obviously, Adelaide have had a few struggles early on this year, just like they did last year - and look where they ended up last year," Wilkinson said.

"They're definitely not a team that deserves to be on the bottom of the league.

"We'll be treating them with the same respect we treat every opponent (with).

"We're expecting a difficult game and they'll be well up for getting their first win of the season.

"Obviously, Adelaide's confidence might be a little low so, if we can get on top of them early and maybe grab a goal, that would be great for us and put them on the back foot."

Arnold will again field a perfectly fit squad - albeit potentially with Wednesday's FFA Cup final in mind.

The Reds, plagued by injuries, appear to be emerging from the darkness with striker Henrique back from a knee problem to boost the attack along with Sergi Guardiola, who appears to have promptly recovered from last weekend's injury against Perth.

But Arnold sees a clear advantage in Amor's absence from the Allianz Stadium sidelines as the Spaniard serves a one-match ban for his outburst during United's controversial loss last Friday to the Glory.

"You saw the same with Kenny Lowe; it's not the same for the players without the coach on the sideline," Arnold said.

"The players always look across to the coach for reassurance and tactical instructions."

STATS THAT MATTER:

* Adelaide have won four of their six most-recent games against Sydney and are unbeaten in the past three

* The Reds have kept a clean sheet in their past four regular-season away matches with the Sky Blues, outscoring them 9-0 across that period

* Sydney have conceded the most fouls (128) and won the fewest (83) of any team this season

* Sergi Guardiola's 20 shots at goal are the second most of any player this season and four more than any Sydney player

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