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Reds must adapt to brutal A-League rivals

AAP logoAAP 1/11/2016 Steve Larkin

Champions Adelaide United must get used to being brutally hunted by A-League rivals, according to captain Eugene Galekovic.

United are winless this season with opponents adopting overtly physical tactics to unsettle the title-holders.

"That's the way the games are being played ... we have to get used to it," Galekovic told AAP.

"There have been a few physical encounters. If teams think it's their strength to play tough, then that is fair enough.

"We're men and we look forward to these challenges.

"Maybe they think it's an advantage to play that way against us, I'm not sure."

The Reds have one draw and three losses this season ahead of Sunday's home game against Central Coast, who are also seeking a first win of the season.

United's slow start mirrors last season when they were winless after eight rounds yet recovered to claim the club's first championship.

"We are actually at a better stage than we were at the start of last season in terms of the way we're playing," Galekovic said.

"In terms of results it's pretty similar, but they will come if we keep going the way we're going.

"It's a weird one. Obviously the results haven't been there but in terms of the way we're playing, it's pretty positive.

"We're creating chances, playing pretty good football and we're doing it with a lot of players out."

Adelaide hope key recruit James Holland will overcome a hamstring strain and play against the Mariners.

But it will be at least mid-season before the Reds have their preferred team available because of long-term injuries to Sergio Cirio (knee), Michael Marrone (achilles), Henrique (knee) and Marcelo Carrusca (foot).

"We are a squad of 23 and whoever comes in, we know that they're more than capable of stepping up," Galekovic said.

"The only thing that we are probably lacking is that experience.

"But these younger boys give us energy. They know the way we have to play, it's just about teaching them.

"And we did that last year - we clicked at a certain time. And we want to click a little bit earlier this season."

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