Forgotten marquee man Baba Diawara is back for Adelaide United and the timing’s perfect for a potentially season-defining fixture against Brisbane Roar on Anzac Day.
Win on Thursday, and United can relax and start planning their finals campaign with a home match.
And with Diawara finally seemingly ready to go, the Reds are ready to confirm their finals fate with three points in Brisbane.
Any other result and they’ll have to sweat on Phoenix’s clash in Perth.
It’s all to play for, as Craig Goodwin explained.
“He’s [Baba] been back getting fit for a long time now.
“He’s been looking good, and scoring goals in training.
“And you can see in training he has that quality and that presence,” Reds’ Socceroo Goodwin said before United flew to the Sunshine State.
“Hopefully in the game, if he comes on he can show that.”
Senegalese Diawara, 31, has featured for just 21 minutes this season, emerging briefly off the bench in the Round 2 draw with Newcastle Jets.
His troublesome knee the reason for the frustrating spell out.
Diawara joined Adelaide in February 2017 following stints with Spanish side Sevilla and Portuguese outfit Maritimo.
A win on Thursday and the Reds can relax and plan for a home final in front of their raucous fans.
It’s a huge advantage compared to the worst-case scenario of playing away to Phoenix in Wellington in an elimination final in front of a sold-out Westpac.
“If he [Baba] is there for us in the finals series he can make a huge difference starting or coming off the bench.
“We know Baba can score.”
Just at the right time, the Reds now have options with Diawara, Goodwin, Stamelelopouls and last week’s goal hero Blackwood in the mix.
But Reds coach Marco Kurz axed Jordy Thomassen for this Roar clash.
For a side, that’s struggled to hit the net, the Diawara return is perfect timing.
“Hopefully we can score a few more against Brisbane to put us in a good frame of mind for the finals series,” added Goodwin.
New Roar coach Robbie Fowler will be watching on at Thursday’s game.