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Ex-Reds in return to Adelaide for AL clash

AAP logoAAP 11/01/2017 Ben McKay

Caretaker coach Michael Valkanis will lead an Adelaide United-flavoured Melbourne City side to South Australia for their A-League clash.

It's the first trip back to Adelaide for Valkanis and winger Bruce Kamau, since both celebrated the club's first championship in May last year.

Osama Malik and former Reds youth defender Ruon Tongyik are also likely to figure on Thursday night.

The swapping of personnel is the latest feature in a rivalry that has risen in animosity in recent seasons.

Staying cool could be key to winning the contest and Valkanis believes in Kamau and Tongyik, he has the men for the job.

"They're cool cats ... I don't think if the Adelaide crowd was go against (them they) would react in any way," he said on Wednesday.

But it's a fixture that has seen its share of drama.

Last year, City's dreams of a first grand final were dashed with a 4-1 belting at Cooper's Stadium.

And two weeks earlier, Adelaide arrived at AAMI Park and secured a 2-0 win that helped them win the premier's plate despite a half-time tunnel brawl.

It's not quite Adelaide's main rivalry - which they share with Melbourne Victory - but Valkanis said it was creeping up due to the player swapping between clubs and their similar attacking game plans.

"Last year for some reason City came into the mix and it became a big game as well," he said.

"There's a bit of spice to it, no doubt."

Valkanis said it was pivotal to not focus on the past or underestimate the scope of the fight in the last-placed Reds.

"I worked for some time there and worked with (former coach) Josep Gombau and Guillermo Amor. I know the style and what they're going to do. There's no doubt about it," he said.

"They're in a difficult spot and they're very dangerous.

"They're a team that's been very unlucky, has been playing very good football and they're going to play a grand final tomorrow.

"I know behind the scenes they'll be talking about it as do or die."

Valkanis named Malik as the man likely to deputise for Neil Kilkenny, who is suspended.

STATS THAT MATTER

* Melbourne City have won three of their last five matches against Adelaide United, but lost the ones that have mattered most - a round 27 match and their semi-final last season.

* In 20 meetings, there has never been a 0-0 result.

* City (109) and United (104) have taken the most corners of any A-League sides this campaign.

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