Adelaide coach Matthew Nicks backs his side to respond after a dismal showing against Richmond last week, as their sights are set on the "best team in the competition".

Hosting ladder-leaders Sydney at Adelaide Oval on Saturday evening with the season hanging in the balance, Nicks said the club knows what it has to do, but declared it's just about doing it.

Despite sitting three-and-a-half games outside the eight and with finals all but out of the question, the Adelaide coach believes there is still plenty to play for.

Adelaide Oval

"We're up against the best team in the competition but we know what we need to bring - it's whether we actually bring it on the day," Nicks told reporters on Wednesday.

"We've got a few soldiers back possibly this week ... that brings a little bit of confidence and belief as well.

"We've put our heads down and gone to work ... and when you've got a group like we do you have confidence that they will bring it.

"We didn't quite get to where we needed last week (in an eight-point loss to Richmond) but when you come up against the best we know we're going to lift."

The Crows are hopeful that the much-needed pair of Taylor Walker (back) and Izak Rankine (hamstring) will put their hand up for selection, with reports indicating they're nearing a return.

Forgotten key defender Nick Murray could also be brought in for his first game of 2024 after overcoming an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and returning through the SANFL.

Veteran Rory Laird failed to complete Wednesday night's session while Nicks provided some insight into this week's match committee.

"In a team environment when the team's not performing well, then certain parts of that come under stress," Nicks said.

"Part of that is some of our individuals are under pressure because we're just looking for performance that's going to get us in the fight, and that hasn't changed.

"That's been there for the last two or three weeks; there's been players under pressure where we need a little bit more from them."