Hyundai A-League preview: Jets v Phoenix
A goal-shy Newcastle Jets must find their scoring touch. Fast. They face bogey side Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium this Sunday.
Sunday, 17 January 2016
Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (Local) (5:00 PM (AEDT))
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Assistant Referee 1: Ashley Beecham
Assistant Referee 2: Kearney Robinson
Fourth Official: Kris Griffiths-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #NEWvWEL
To purchase tickets visit www.a-league.com.au/tickets
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (Gk), 2.Daniel MULLEN, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Cameron WATSON, 7.Enver ALIVODIC, 8.MateoPOLJAK, 9.Milos TRIFUNOVIC, 10.LEONARDO, 14.Mitch COOPER, 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: 10.LEONARDO (returns from injury), 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted)
Unavailable: 11.Labinot HALITI (knee – season)
Wellington Phoenix squad: 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 3.Justin GULLEY, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 5.Troy DANASKOS, 6.Dylan FOX, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 10.Michael MCGLINCHEY, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 12.Blake POWELL, 13.Albert RIERA, 17.Vince LIA, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 28.Joel STEVENS
Ins: 4.Roly BONEVACIA (returns from suspension), 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ (returns from suspension)
Outs: 7.Jeffery SARPONG (calf strain), 25.Tamupiwa DIMAIRO (omitted)
Unavailable: 2.Manny MUSCAT (suspended – 1 match), 14.Alex RUFER (broken tibia – season), 16.Louis FENTON (ankle – 2-3 weeks), 18.Ben SIGMUND (hamstring – 2-3 weeks), 21.Roy KRISHNA (ankle – 8-10 weeks)
These two sides met in Round 1 at Westpac Stadium with the Jets snatching a superb 2-1 victory thanks to a late strike from Serbian Milos Trifunovic.
What a start it was for Scott Miller's men.
But after a stunning opening month, winning three of their first four matches, the Jets have failed to register a win in their past 10 encounters and haven’t managed a goal in six consecutive games.
The stats don't make for good reading if you're a Jets supporter.
They have gone 559 minutes since their last goal and could eclipse an unwanted Hyundai A-League record if they fail to net again on Sunday afternoon.
Should the Jets not score in the opening 47 minutes against the Phoenix, they will set a new mark for the longest time between goals, currently held by the New Zealand Knights back in 2006/07.
That said, the hosts will be boosted by the likely return of Brazilian Leonardo, with the classy midfielder set to play his first game in more than a month after an ongoing knee complaint.
The Phoenix cross the ditch with renewed confidence after earning a gritty point against league-leaders Brisbane Roar last weekend.
But Ernie Merrick’s outfit will be put to the test with a host of injuries decimating the squad - first-team regulars Ben Sigmund, Louis Fenton, Jeffrey Sarpong and Roy Krishna are all on the sidelines.
Playmaker Roly Bonevacia ‘s return is a timely addition for the visitors after struggling to create chances against the Roar, while Alex Rodriguez should slot back into midfield after missing last week through suspension.
- Newcastle downed Phoenix 2-1 in their last encounter and will now be looking for consecutive wins against Wellington for the first time since the first ever two A-League matches between these clubs.
- Wellington haven’t won away from home since Round 2, since then they’ve accrued two draws and five losses.
- Wellington Phoenix have conceded only one goal in the 15 minutes leading up to half-time (31-45 minutes) this season, the fewest of any team.
- Newcastle have scored eight goals in their last three home games against Wellington, though they’ve managed to win only one of those.
- Phoenix have traditionally had the wood over the Jets winning 15 of 26 matches (four draws), including four of the last five matches at Hunter Stadium.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Having scored just nine goals for the entire campaign, the Jets will be desperate to find the net by any means necessary.
Leonardo’s creativity in the middle of the park has been sorely missed over the past month and his inclusion could spark the hosts, though he is likely to come off the bench.
Mitch Cooper looked dangerous after being injected at the interval against Sydney FC and could be an option to start in an advanced role should Leonardo not be fit.
David Carney and Enver Alivodic look the most threatening going forward for the hosts but Scott Miller’s side need more from misfiring Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic.
The Phoenix are without first-choice strikers Roy Krishna and Jeffrey Sarpong and will be forced into a re-jig with former Sydney FC man Blake Powell likely to lead the line for the visitors.
Roly Bonevacia is the Phoenix’s most dangerous player and will dictate much of the visitors’ attack in the middle of the park in combination with Michael McGlinchey.
Sarpong’s absence opens up a spot in a wide area with former Wanderers flyer Kwabena Appiah in line to replace him, though youngster Joel Stevens is another option for Merrick.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Dylan Fox. The relatively unknown Phoenix youngster made his debut against the Roar last weekend and had an absolute blinder, named man of the match. The 21-year-old was duly named in the Hyundai A-League team of the week.
Newcastle Jets LDLLL
Wellington Phoenix LDLLD
Newcastle Jets 1 Wellington Phoenix 1