Hyundai A-League preview: Jets v City

Two sides at opposite ends of the ladder meet in the Hunter. Can Newcastle Jets, buoyed by the home debut of Morten Nordstrand, spring a huge upset or will City’s razor-sharp strike-force once again prove too clinical?

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MATCH DETAILS

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

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

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

Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, 774 ABC Melbourne, ABC Local Radio Vic, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live.

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

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

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 10.LEONARDO, 14.Mitch COOPER, 16.Steven UGARKOVIC, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Nicholas COWBURN, 27.Braedyn CROWLEY, 28.Ryan KITTO

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (returns from suspension), 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted)

Victory striker Besart Berisha fights for the ball with Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard in Round 3.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – season), 23.David CARNEY (released)

Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Thomas SORENSEN (GK), 3.Aaron HUGHES, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 8.Aaron MOOY, 9.Harry NOVILLO, 11.Michael ZULLO, 16.Jason TRIFIRO, 17.Wade DEKKER, 18.Paulo RETRE, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Dean BOUZANIS (GK), 22.Jack CLISBY, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 24.Patrick KISNORBO (c), 25.Jacob MELLING, 27.Nick FITZGERALD, 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI, 33.Osama MALIK

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 17.Wade DEKKER (promoted), 16.Jason TRIFIRO (promoted), 28.Steve KUZMANOVSKI (promoted)

Wade Dekker celebrates his goal on debut for Melbourne City against the Sky Blues.

Outs: 6.Erik PAARTALU (released), 29.Anthony CACERES (suspended)

Unavailable: 3.Aaron HUGHES (soreness – 1 week), 4.Connor CHAPMAN (4-5 weeks), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – season)

Referee: Adam Fielding

Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Trent Nash

#NEWvMCY

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

Last weekend Newcastle boss Scott Miller got an improved performance but in the end it was a similar story, coming up just short of a winning result.

The 1-0 defeat to Adelaide was their fifth in the last six matches, with finals football slipping further and further from their grasp.

Very disappointing after the strong start the club made in the first month.

And it’s been another eventful week in the Hunter, with David Carney released to head down the F3 and join a club he has strong ties with, Sydney FC.

It’s a huge loss. Carney has been Newcastle’s most consistent player. The rest of the squad will need to lift even more to cover his absence.

The Jets may take some solace from the fact one of their four wins this season did come against City. And what an extraordinary win it was.

Ben Kantarovsji celebrates scoring with Jets teammate Milos Trifunovic.

They came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at AAMI Park but that was all the way back in round four, well before City found their groove and the Jets' mojo deserted them.

John van ‘t Schip’s side is a different beast right now, even given their 4-3 loss to the Wanderers last Friday night.

Midfielder Erik Paartalu left for Korea this week but there’s a host of options to fill the void. Depth is not an issue with City.

Osama Malik, Jacob Melling and Paulo Retre are all options to fill the holding midfield role.

But it’s further forward where City’s strength really lies, with Fornaroli, Novilo and Mooy in imperious touch.

Socceroo wingers Franjic and Zullo are starting to get regular minutes into their legs and will hope to pin the Jets fullbacks deep in their own half.

Melbourne City's Aaron Mooy, Harry Novillo and Ivan Franjic celebrate scoring against Wellington.

As well as Paartalu, van ‘t Schip needs to fill another hole in midfield due suspension to Anthony Caceres. Retre will probably slot in.

Skipper Nigel Boogaard is back from a suspension to bolster a Jets defence which is likely to be overworked.

OPTA DATA

*Newcastle has conceded 12 goals in their last five home Hyundai A-League matches, and they’ve replied with just four of their own over the same period.

*Melbourne City’s last away Hyundai A-League win came in a 4-0 defeat of the Newcastle Jets in Round 10, since then they’ve lost twice and drawn once.

*This match pits the team to have made the most shots – Melbourne City (209) – against the team with the fewest shots – Newcastle Jets (112) - in the Hyundai A-League this season.

*City has lost the most points from winning positions this season in the Hyundai A-League (11) and is the only side yet to win a point from a losing position.

ROUTE TO GOAL

If the two previous clashes between these two sides is anything to go by then there should be a few goals to enjoy.

Nine have been scored in the two matches earlier this season, with one win apiece.

But City cruised to a 4-0 win in the previous game at Hunter Stadium and has been untouchable in the goal-scoring department this season, with 43 to the Jets 13 (yes, 30 goals better!).

Underlining how much of a gap there is between both side’s attack is that City striker Bruno Fornaroli (14) has scored more goals than the entire Newcastle squad combined. Incredible!

Melbourne City's Bruno Fornaroli leads the Golden Boot race with 13 goals.

Scott Miller has made the Jets hard to breakdown this season but it will take a monumental effort to stop Fornaroli, Novillo, Mooy and Co.

It’s at the other end where the Jets boss needs to get more from his troops.

New signings Nordstrand and Ugarkovic will help their potency in the front third and the duo could come straight into the starting side on Sunday.

Both have something that has been seriously lacking for Newcastle this season. They are confident on the ball and always look to play forward and make something happen.

Morten Nordstrand made his debut for the Jets off the bench against Adelaide United.

Hopefully for the Jets’ sake, it will help wring more out of Trifunovic and Alivodic's respective performances thus far this season.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Morten Nordstrand. With Carney now out of the club, someone else will need to step up and provide some attacking flair and creativity for the goal-shy Jets. Can the ex-Danish international deliver on his home debut?

FORM LINES

Jets: LLWLL

City: DWDWL

PREDICTION

Newcastle Jets 0-3 Melbourne City