Canberra United will be out to cut a three-game losing streak and begin 2018 on a high when they host Adelaide United at McKellar Park on Sunday afternoon.
Forward Ashleigh Sykes is expected to return to the fold after injuring her ankle against Brisbane earlier in the season, but the team has also been dealt a blow by the news that Nicki Flannery is likely out for the rest of the season with a foot injury.
Canberra United faced the Lady Reds on January 7th last season as well, with the sides sharing the points in a 2-2 draw despite sitting at opposite ends of the table. This time, the win is important for the hosts heading into a tough end to the season, and coach Heather Garriock said on Friday the team knows the goal.
"We know Adelaide are coming off a game against Sydney where they would be gutted to have conceded so late," Garriock said.
"We know it's going to be a tough game and we know we need the three points."
Garriock was coy on whether Sykes would start or play an impact role off the bench, acknowledging that the decision would not be made about the Season Nine Golden Boot winner until much closer to game time.
"It depends on a few things, and on how she pulls up after our final training session," she said.
"But just having Ash on the park this week has made a huge difference."
With kickoff now pushed back by two hours it is a waiting game to see how much the weather will cool off before 6:30, and drinks breaks are likely to be implemented in both halves of football.
The match will see the return of former Canberra United players Emma Checker and Jenna McCormick, with both defenders this season returning to their hometown club after winning the Season Nine Premiership in the capital.
Sunday, 7 January 2018
Canberra United v Adelaide United
McKellar Park, McKellar, ACT
Kick-Off: 6:30pm (Local) (6:30pm AEDT)
Referee: Kate Jacewicz
Assistant Referee 1: Nia Southwell
Assistant Referee 2: Georgia Ghirardello
Fourth Official: Delfina Dimoski
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Canberra United Squad: 1.Haley KOPMEYER (Gk), 3.Clare HUNT, 4.Toni PRESSLEY, 6.Caitlin MUNOZ, 8.Liana DANASKOS, 10.Grace MAHER, 11.Elise THORSNES, 12.Bethany GORDON, 14.Ashleigh SYKES, 16.Karly ROESTBAKKEN, 17.Madelyn WHITTALL 18.Taren KING, 20.Amy SAYER, 21.Ellie CARPENTER, 23.Michelle HEYMAN, 34.Laura BASSETT, 36.Georgia BORIC (Gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 12.Bethany GORDON (promoted), 14.Ashleigh SYKES (promoted), 18.Taren KING (promoted), 20.Amy SAYER (promoted)
Outs: 5.Brianna OLIVERIO (omitted), 19.Aoife COLVILL (omitted)
Unavailable: 7.Nicki FLANNERY (foot – indefinite)
Adelaide United Squad: 2.Emily HODGSON, 3.Makenzy DONIAK, 4.Alyssa MAUTZ, 5. Jenna McCORMICK, 6.Georgia CAMPAGNALE, 8.Emily CONDON, 9.Adriana JONES, 10.Alex CHIDIAC, 11.Laura JOHNS, 12.Chelsie DAWBER, 13.Nora PEAT, 14.Grace ABBEY, 15.Emma CHECKER (c), 20.Sarah WILLACY (Gk), 24.Danielle COLAPRICO, 25.Katie NAUGHTON, 30.Evelyn GOLDSMITH (Gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Emily HODGSON (promoted), 13.Nora PEAT (promoted)
Unavailable: 1.Eliza CAMPBELL (Gk) (concussion – 1 week)