Tarek Elrich expects new faces James Holland and Sergi Guardiola to be even better for Adelaide United in Friday night’s highly anticipated Hyundai A-League grand final rematch against a wounded Wanderers at Coopers Stadium.
The pair made encouraging debuts in last weekend’s 1-1 draw in Newcastle and will now make their first appearances in front of their home fans at Coopers Stadium.
Despite being around the squad for less than two weeks before the start of the season, Holland and Guardiola were among the Reds best in the Hunter and are settling in nicely at their new home.
“Having only a week-and-a-half of training, you saw their quality,” Elrich told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“They add a different dynamic.”
The Reds have a great recent record against the Wanderers, losing just once in the last nine meetings between the two clubs.
But Elrich expects his former club to come out breathing fire on Friday night.
The Wanderers head to Adelaide not only seeking revenge for last season’s 3-1 grand final defeat to the Reds but also wounded from last weekend’s 4-0 derby hammering against Sydney FC.
Having played under Tony Popovic in two seasons at the Wanderers, Elrich knows he’ll have them primed to hit back hard.
And like the Reds, Wanderers have some new and exciting talent to excite the fans.
“There’s a long season ahead and we can turn this around,” said Wanderers attacking midfielder Mitch Nichols, who lauded his new partner in the middle of the park, Jumpei Kusukami.
“He’s a very good player. He’s only going to grow and get used to the league. He showed his quality [in the Sydney Derby] and it’s just the beginning for him.
“And Nico [Martinez] looked sharp when he came on and we’ve got a good squad.”