Gombau backs struggling Djite

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Adelaide United boss Josep Gombau has given his struggling striker Bruce Djite a vote of confidence, confirming the experienced talisman is safe in his team for the Hyundai A-League finals.

28-year-old Djite has struggled in the league this season, only finding the back of the net on six occasions, the last of which was against Western Sydney Wanderers in a comeback victory on 21 February.

But Gombau has insisted that Djite is the man for the job as the season drawn to its climax, despite acknowledging that his sharp shooter has been struggling in the league of late.

“[Against Sydney FC two weeks ago] he had a difficult game where he lost a lot of balls, and [against Brisbane Roar last week] he had some chances that, as a striker, he needs to try to put in,” Gombau said after United’s shock three-two loss to Brisbane Roar on Saturday.

“He’s a player that I have trust in, I have confidence in him and he brings to us a lot of things and we need to keep going [with him],” he said.

With Adelaide forgoing a chance to sit atop the table –albeit briefly – after Saturday’s loss, and now trailing leaders Melbourne Victory by four points, the need to Djite’s form to come good is as important as ever.

There is a thought amongst United fans that having a successful marksman could be the difference between first and fourth, which will default to third when Perth Glory get relegated from the finals.

Coopers Stadium regular Jeni Loy believes as much, saying that if Djite doesn’t find form in the next few weeks, Gombau might be in the hunt for a new striker.

“Adelaide United could definitely be top with an in-form striker,” Loy said.

“Instead [Djite] has struggled and we as a team have struggled with our finishing.

“I love Brucey, but if he doesn’t bag some goals in the next few weeks it might be time to look elsewhere for next season,” she said.

That thought isn’t replicated in the United dugout though, with Gombau confirming that the team is rallying behind their man.

“Bruce is our striker, we need to have confidence in him and support him,” Gombau said.

When asked directly if Djite was Adelaide’s man for the finals series, Gomabu simply said: “of course, of course.”

Djite has played 104 games for the Reds over two periods, having spent time in Turkey and at Gold Coast United between stints at Coopers Stadium. He is the club’s third-highest goal scorer overall.

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