'It is something the club has to sort out ASAP'
FACING finals elimination and craving clarity over coach Guillermo Amor's future, Adelaide United is at breaking point on all fronts entering Saturday night's clash with Western Sydney Wanderers.
Adelaide general manager Ante Kovacevic last month revealed that February 28 was "the cut-off" to resolve whether Amor would remain at Hindmarsh for a third season in charge.
Winless in the Asian Champions League, bottom-ranked Adelaide's A-League title defence will be shattered with defeat at Spotless Stadium.
Tarek Elrich - a championship-winning defender with the Wanderers and Adelaide - conceded playing groups benefited from certainty over the long-term plan of a club.
"It is something that obviously plays on the future of the players because players are off contract," said Elrich, a top-shelf contributor despite Adelaide's lacklustre campaign.
"If a club is talking to a player or signing for a club you would want to know who your coach is before you commit to a deal.
"It is something the club has to sort out ASAP, to know the direction of the club."
Amor's men trail the sixth-placed Wanderers by 10 points with five rounds remaining.
Adelaide is effectively in limbo without a decision - on or from Barcelona icon Amor. Brisbane Roar coach John Aloisi remains linked to a Reds homecoming in 2017-18.
"Guillermo is a good coach and a great person. It will be hard, if he does leave, to replace him because finding a good coach who can get along with 23 personalities in a squad isn't an easy job," said Elrich.
"Most of the head coaches are taken up and coaching other clubs. You don't just get the next big thing. It's something the club has to look at, make some decisions early. I don't think anyone wants a repeat of what has happened this season."
Star No.10 Marcelo Carrusca has been on the outer with Amor since axed from United's Champions League squad. Inexplicably omitted from United's list to confront the Wanderers, Carrsuca was at Reds training in Sydney on Friday, boosting his hopes of inclusion and ongoing role this season.
"Celo for us is a quality player and won a number of individual trophies, is great for the team and a good leader," said former Socceroo Elrich.
"He knows what he can produce for the team. I would be worried if he didn't care."
Adelaide showed encouraging signs in a 2-1 loss to cashed-up Chinese club Jiangsu Suning on Wednesday night before 41,000 fans in Nanjing.
The gravity of United's domestic plight is front of mind for Elrich.
"We are playing for pride. It's a long shot but we haven't ruled out the top six," said Elrich.
Amor must decide whether to recall keeper John Hall or retain favour with Daniel Margush. Rookie Margush's first-half mistake set-up the first of $70 million signing Alex Teixeira's brace in Nanjing but recovered ground with top shelf, second half saves.