Relief as great Dane returns for Reds

Dec 29, 2017 - 2:40 AM It's been a long time coming, and Johan Absalonsen's overriding emotion is relief.

Nine weeks after injuring his thigh in round three, the Danish winger is finally set to return to A-League action for Adelaide United on Saturday.

Absalonsen was the Reds' early season standout and played a central role in the team's strong start, but has since struggled to tolerate an exasperatingly long recovery.

"It's been rough, especially mentally because in the beginning I thought it was four to six weeks and aimed for that, then suddenly it got a bit more complicated," Absalonsen said.

"Now I'm here nine weeks later. It's a relief.

"It's one of the longest injuries I've had, and also one of the most frustrating."

Close to making the cut for Boxing Day's 1-0 win over Central Coast, the 32-year-old is in line to play at home to Brisbane.

Coach Marco Kurz was delighted to have his star back in the fold and hoped match fitness would build quickly.

"I'm very happy about this because it's (been) a long time and we have missed him," Kurz said.

"He is ready maybe to play or for the squad, and that's a good moment for us."

Fourth-placed Adelaide host the struggling Roar after a short four-day turnaround, but are fortunate Daniel Adlung is fit to play after enduring ankle swelling against the Mariners.

Ersan Gulum is also back from suspension.

If anything, Kurz said it would be folly to write off injury-hit Brisbane, who have two wins from 12 games and sit second-last.

"We make a mistake when we speak about the injuries to Brisbane, it's very important to speak about the strengths of this team," he said.

"They've lost games but (they were) very close. They're a good team and have (Massimo) Maccarone, a very good striker.

"We must be focused, if we make the mistake to think it's a simple game then we lose."


* Adelaide have won their last two encounters with Brisbane 2-1 and are after a first-ever third consecutive win against the Roar

* The Reds are the only team yet to score from the penalty spot this season

* Massimo Maccarone has scored three of Brisbane's last four A-League goals and netted his maiden goal against Adelaide in October

Source: AAP

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