Adelaide United coach Carl Veart has put the onus on Tomi Juric to maintain his goalscoring form when the Socceroos striker returns for the Reds against Newcastle at Coopers Stadium on Friday night.
After scoring just once in his opening six matches of the season, Juric netted a hat-trick of penalties in Adelaide’s 3-2 home win over Central Coast Mariners on February 19.
But in the same match he suffered a groin injury that kept him out of the Reds’ 3-2 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium last Saturday.
“Tomi is coming along nicely … we expected him to play last week,” Veart said.
“He was just not quite there, so he’s had another week on the track so we expect him to provide the goals for us.
“That’s why we brought him here – to score goals. He did that last time at home, and we’re looking forward to him to keep scoring goals right through the whole season.”
Juric is among a trio of Reds set to return from injury on Friday night, with veteran centre back Michael Jakobsen and right back Ryan Strain also available again.
“They’re all fit to go,” Veart said.
Get ready for another action-packed weekend 🙌#ALeaguepic.twitter.com/ynJUqLwQmI
Adelaide’s squad will be further strengthened in the coming weeks with the signing of Spanish midfielder Juande, who played for Perth Glory in the past two A-League seasons before having a short stint in India.
“We’re still waiting for an exemption for him to get back into the country,” Veart said.
“He has a very good pedigree and a lot of experience, and to bring that into our midfield set-up and to help with the development of our younger players that are in there, it’s going to add value to the team.
“We need to strengthen that area in the middle of the park.”
With the Reds having returned to form with successive wins after losing three consecutive losses, Veart is confident his team will play finals football this season.
“We believe we can make the finals, and when you get to the finals anyone can give it a good shake,” he said.
“I believe we’re a squad that is more than capable of being in that top six.”
That’s despite Veart admitting the Reds don’t have the same squad depth as other A-League clubs.
“We’ve got quality but we don’t have the full depth. We rely on our young players to provide the impact,” he said.
“We still believe in the young players we’ve got in this state, but we’ve got to be careful that we don’t push them too far too early.
“It’s about providing them a grounding so they can go on to have long successful careers.”
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