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Jan 28, 2009

Reds don't mind being written off: Dodd

To listen to a popular view among A-League clubs is to consider Adelaide United finished for the season.

They've played too many games, had too many injuries and been too unsettled by player turnover.

Then there's the matter of facing up to longtime nemesis Melbourne Victory in the league finals - Melbourne have not lost to the Reds this season, and the memory of their 6-0 waltz in the 2007 grand final remains tucked away in the memory.

Yet for a club supposedly on their last legs, United looked remarkably energetic on Thursday morning while pushing through a lengthy training session in the midst of Adelaide's record-stretching heatwave.

Rushing through a quarter-pitch practice match that emphasised shooting and triangular passing in tight spaces, the players were intent on finding the nuance necessary to crack the Victory at Hindmarsh in leg one of the major semi-final.

Reds skipper Travis Dodd said he was more than happy to let opponents underestimate his men.

"That's fine, clubs can say what they want," he said on Thursday.

"I reckon it's better for us if they don't rate us in the finals, we know we're good enough to be there and do well.

"People said we hadn't won at Central Coast before the last game of the season and we went there and did a job.

"The same's been said about Melbourne, we haven't beaten them for a while, so we can get one over them in the first final."

Dodd was understandably puffed by session's end, but felt the work in close, with its intensity and frequent angry outbursts by players and coaches on both sides of the scratch teams, would be useful next week.

"It's nice and competitive and it encourages players to shoot, which I think is what we definitely need and have been lacking in the last few weeks, the killer instinct in front of goal," he said.

"Without a doubt, Melbourne are a good side pressuring, they really come at you quick, so to play the small triangles and make sure you have fast feet and get your passes right definitely helps."

The 8am start to training precluded Reds players from seeing much of the Socceroos' stalemate with Indonesia overnight, but Dodd was frank about his omission from the squad.

"I'd by lying if I said I wasn't disappointed about not making the squad, so it's an opportunity now to focus with Adelaide, play well and hopefully put myself back in the spotlight," he said.

"I just have to work on my game defensively a bit more, maybe track back a little more and cover the right fullback.

"But going forward I've been pretty happy with the way things have been going, I'd like to score a few more goals but overall I'm pretty happy with my game."

Adelaide have a handful of players with niggles to get over, including Brazilian wide man Cassio.

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