Hyundai A-League preview: Adelaide v Newcastle

With Adelaide and Newcastle's form heading in opposite directions, Scott Miller's Jets will have a huge task containing the resurgent Reds at Coopers on Sunday. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off: 4:30 PM (Local) (5:00 PM (AEDT))

Referee: Ben Williams

Assistant Referee 1: Paul Cetrangolo

Assistant Referee 2: Stephen Toth

Fourth Official: Rick Schneider

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide**, 1233 ABC Newcastle**, Grandstand Digital**, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.

**coverage will start at the conclusion of the cricket

Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvNEW

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au/tickets

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Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk) (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Iacopo LA ROCCA, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 6.Stefan MAUK, 7.PABLO SANCHEZ, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.George MELLS, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Mate DUGANDZIC, 20.John HALL (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Bruce KAMAU

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 2.Michael MARRONE (returns from suspension) suspended), 6.Stefan MAUK (new signing), 9.Sergio CIRIO (returns from injury), 20.John HALL (returns from international duty)

Sergio Cirio

Outs: 19.Eli BABALJ (ACL – season), 30.Daniel MARGUSH (omitted)

Unavailable: 18.Jimmy JEGGO (released)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (Gk), 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 10.LEONARDO, 14.Mitch COOPER, 16.Steven UGARKOVIC, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 20.Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.David CARNEY, 24.Nicholas COWBURN, 27.Braedyn CROWLEY, 28.Ryan KITTO

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (returns from suspension), 16.Steven UGARKOVIC (promoted), 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted)

Ben Kantarovski fights for the ball with Victory midfielder Leigh Broxham.

Outs: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (suspended – 1 week)

Unavailable: 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – season)

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

The two previous matches between Adelaide and Newcastle this season have both ended scoreless but it seems unlikely that will happen again on Sunday.

The Reds are flying on an eight-game undefeated run, while they have won their past three fixtures including their 4-1 thumping of Brisbane Roar last week.

Meanwhile, the Jets have lost four of their past five games and were destroyed 6-1 by Perth Glory in Round 16.

With Newcastle heading to South Australia on Sunday, Jets fans would be forgiven for worrying about a repeat of last season's 7-0 humiliation at Coopers Stadium.

Adelaide's Bruce Djite scored a brace on that occasion and with the big centre-forward ending his scoring drought against the Roar, the portents are not good for Scott Miller's team.

Bruce Djite celebrates with teammates after scoring in his side's 3-1 win over the Roar.

The Jets have received a boost this week with the signing of former Denmark international Morten Nordstrand, although the striker has not been included in Miller's squad, while Olyroos midfielder Steven Ugarkovic could be given his Newcastle debut.

Miller will be without captain Nigel Boogaard, however, with the central defender having been sent off in the first half against Perth.

Adelaide have bid farewell to midfielder Jimmy Jeggo this week, with the 23-year-old having moved to Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga, while striker Eli Babalj suffered a season-ending knee injury in Queensland last Friday.

New signing Stefan Mauk could step in for Jeggo, while Sergio Cirio returns from injury to provide support up front.

OPTA DATA

There has been only one goal scored in the last three matches between these sides.

Adelaide have kept the Jets scoreless in their last four encounters.

The Reds have outscored their opponents 13-3 over their last six A-League fixtures.

Newcastle remain scoreless in their last four away matches in the A-League, never before have they failed to score in five consecutive games on the road.

ROUTE TO GOAL

Much has been made of the Reds' improving defence during their unbeaten run - they have kept four clean sheets in eight matches - but coach Guillermo Amor has seemingly found the right formula up front too.

Adelaide have scored 10 goals in their past three games.

Last week, Djite ended a scoreless run in the A-League that stretched back to February 2015 and if the 28-year-old can become a more regular goal threat, Adelaide will be tough to stop up front.

After their terribly slow start, the sixth-placed Reds remain four points behind fifth-placed Sydney FC, but another win will see Amor's side put pressure on the Sky Blues and title-holders Melbourne Victory, who sit fourth.

After Jeggo's exit, it will be interesting to see how Amor sets up his midfield against Newcastle.

Stefan Mauk

George Mells did well alongside Isaias in Queensland but Amor may be tempted to introduce Mauk, who was in fine form for Melbourne City before he joined the Olyroos in Qatar earlier this month.

Expect Miller to bring Ugarkovic into Newcastle's starting XI at Coopers Stadium, with the 21-year-old defensive midfielder having impressed at training since joining from Osijek.

The Jets will also be hoping attacking midfielder Leonardo is fit enough to start after coming off the bench against the Glory.

Newcastle Jets

The pressure will also be on the likes of Milos Trifunovic, David Carney, Ryan Kitto and Enver Alivodic to make more of an impact up front, as Miller will surely be keen to get Nordstrand into his squad sooner rather than later.

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

The Jets. They signed a top quality Danish striker. Will he have the X-factor? His bicycle kick goals certainly have caught the eye.

A-League transfer: Jets land Danish international

FORM LINES

Adelaide United: WDWWW

Newcastle Jets: LLLWL

PREDICTION

Adelaide United 3-0 Newcastle Jets

#ADLvNEW