How Adelaide can return to the six

This week we look at the Hyundai A-League clubs who missed the Hyundai A-League finals last season and analyse what they must do to return to the top six.

Today, we focus on 2015/16 champions Adelaide United, under new coach Marco Kurz.

Find a goalscorer

When your Golden Boot winner scores just four goals, there’s a problem. When he’s a centre-back (Dylan McGowan), it’s even worse!

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Adelaide’s 25 goals in 27 games last season was comfortably the lowest tally in the Hyundai A-League and severely hurt their chances of mounting a decent defence of their championship crown.

Get Baba on the ball

Senegalese striker Baba Diawara provided a real spark for United when he arrived in late February, scoring three goals in seven games and injecting much-needed energy to a flagging unit.

Securing him for two more seasons is a great piece of business, and getting the livewire front-man involved as often as possible will be crucial to a Reds revival.

Give Isaias the armband

With Eugene Galekovic gone, Adelaide United need a new skipper and they should look no further than the man who has been the beating heart of their midfield for the last four seasons.

The Spaniard rarely misses a game, is a driving force in the side’s engine-room, is adored by the fans and has committed his future to the club. He’s the obvious choice to lead the side this summer.

Start well

Adelaide’s issues last season can be traced back to a poor start; it took them nine games to claim their first win. While they suffered similarly, yet recovered in their championship season, they were unable to repeat the dose in 2016/17 and weren’t in the top six at any point after the first two rounds.

It’s a tough opening for Adelaide with trips to Wellington and Brisbane followed by visits from both Melbourne clubs, but they must find a way to hit the ground running in October.

Have faith in the youngsters

Last season, Riley McGree was a shining light for Adelaide United, earning a Caltex Socceroos call-up and an off-season move to Club Brugge.

In Jordan O’Doherty, George Blackwood, Paul Izzo, Ben Garrucio, Ben Warland, Nathan Konstandopoulos, Mark Ochieng, Lachlan Brook and Ryan Kitto, the Reds have a raft of youngsters who could bring a freshness and flair to their performances this season.