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Adelaide will be wary of Essendon's run-and-gun attack but coach Matthew Nicks is adamant the Crows are up for their prime time AFL match.
The 15th-placed Crows sit four points behind Essendon but will be underdogs against the freewheeling Bombers at Marvel Stadium on Friday night.
The Bombers are coming off back-to-back losses but have been buoyed by midfield gun Darcy Parish re-signing for two years this week - less than three weeks after Zach Merrett committed for six years.
"At their best, they're very, very hard to beat," Adelaide coach Nicks said.
"They're a different side to Brisbane - we knew that Brissie was going to be a real contest, in and under.
"If we let Essendon have too much space, they'll cut us up.
"So it's a big challenge for us and they're in good form and they've got some young midfielders that are playing some great football at the moment.
"We know that's where the game's going to be won and lost, our midfield group are really looking forward to that challenge."
Nicks said the Crows' youngsters would relish the prospect of playing on the Friday night stage.
"We've had a number of guys who've had a haircut and they've got themselves ready," he said.
"It's big-time, Friday night under the lights and our group are really excited about playing a big game against a good side."
The Crows are without spearhead Taylor Walker and experienced defender Luke Brown and have called upon Elliott Himmelberg and Lachlan Murphy.
Walker's absence is a boost to Essendon, who struggled to handle Geelong key forwards Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron last week.
The Bombers are without skipper Dyson Heppell, who had thumb surgery on Wednesday, while Brayden Ham was dropped - but they recalled Martin Gleeson and elevated last week's medical substitute, Matt Guelfi, into their 22.
Essendon coach Ben Rutten has honed in on improving kicking and decision-making going forward against the Crows, after it proved costly against Melbourne and Geelong.
"We're certainly addressing it, trying to get better at it, training it, focusing in on it," Rutten said.
We'll never be perfect, but I just want to see us keep getting better."