Hyundai A-League preview: Jets v Sydney FC

It's a NSW derby cracker at McDonald Jones stadium when surprise-packets Newcastle Jets meet high-flying Sydney FC on Saturday.

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, 29 October 2016

McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

Kick-Off: 5:35PM (Local) (5:35PM (AEDT))

Referee: Daniel Elder

Assistant Referee 1: Ryan Gallagher

Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal

Fourth Official: Stephen Lucas

TV Broadcast: Live coverage on Fox Sports 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport Pop-Up 2 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, 702 ABC Sydney, ABC Local Radio NSW Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Radio Mobile App – A-league Live, EON Sports Radio (eonsportsradio.com)

Newcastle Jets captain Nigel Boogaard salutes fans at Hunter Stadium.

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

To purchase tickets visit www.aleague.com.au

Newcastle Jets Squad: 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (C), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Mateo POLJAK, 9.Aleksandr KOKKO, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Labinot HALITI, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 16.Nicholas COWBURN, 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC, 19.Morten NORDSTRAND, 20.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 23.Devante CLUT, 28.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 30.Pierce CLARK (gk)

**one to be omitted**

Ins: 9.Aleksandr KOKKO (returns from injury), 17.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted), 28.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (promoted)

Outs: 15.Andrew NABBOUT (groin - 1-3 weeks), 22.Lachlan JACKSON (ankle - indefinite)

Unavailable: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk) (Achilles - season), 2.Daniel MULLEN (knee - indefinite), 21.Daniel ALESSI (knee - season)

Sydney FC squad: 1.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 3.Riley WOODCOCK, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Joshua BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 20.Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21.Filip HOLOSKO, 22.Sebastian RYALL, 23.Rhyan GRANT

**two to be omitted**

Ins: 3.Riley WOODCOCK (promoted), 11.Bernie IBINI (promoted)

Bernie Ibini has signed a season-long loan deal with Sydney FC.

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: Nil

BLUFFER'S GUIDE

This looms as another riveting chapter in the history of this NSW derby with both sides unbeaten thus far this season. 

Sydney FC have been the competition’s form side in the early rounds and showed their Hyundai A-League championship credentials with a gutsy 1-0 win over the Phoenix last week.

Outplayed for long periods at the Cake Tin, Graham Arnold’s men hung tough before Milos Ninkovic stole the three points with a well-taken goal in stoppage time.

Nine goals, zero conceded – the Sky Blues are flying.

The Jets got out of jail last weekend after a lacklustre performance against the Wanderers, with late goals to Nigel Boogaard and Andrew Hoole rescuing a point for Mark Jones’ men.

But the performance underlined Newcastle’s renewed never-say-die attitude. 

Sydney FC players celebrate Milos Ninkovic's late winner against the Phoenix.

The Jets appear to have solidified their defensive frailties from last season and look a far more dangerous proposition in the attacking third, especially in transition.

But their cause has not been helped with injuries to centre-back Lachlan Jackson and in-form winger Andrew Nabbout, stretching a squad light on depth.

The Sky Blues have won five straight against the Jets including the last three at McDonald Jones Stadium. Can Newcastle stop the rot?

OPTA DATA

Hyundai A-League Round 4 Opta Stats

ROUTE TO GOAL

Sydney FC are the league’s sharp-shooters with nine goals after three rounds and it’s easy to see why.

Hard-working youngsters Brandon O’Neill and Joshua Brillante have been instrumental in midfield in the early rounds, while marquees and former teammates from their days in Turkish football Filip Holosko (3 goals) and Bobo (2 goals) are renewing their lethal combination up top. 

But it's playmaker Milos Ninkovic who has really stood out. 

The Serbian has pulled the strings brilliantly in the number 10 role, with his vision and touch a class above at times.

Skipper Alex Brosque’s return to fitness has provided real impetus off the bench having netted twice this season. Add Bernie Ibini and Matt Simon into the mix and Graham Arnold has an embarrassment of riches in the front third.

Andrew Nabbout celebrates after Newcastle Jets opened the scoring against the Roar.

As for the Jets, having scored a league-low 28 goals last season, the Jets have started the new campaign on fire in front of goal, netting seven times in three games.

Winger Andrew Nabbout has been Newcastle’s best player this season and will be sorely missed after injuring his groin against the Wanderers.

In positive news, Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko returns while classy Dane Morten Nordstrand looks set to start after a promising cameo last weekend.

Talented youngsters Devante Clut and Andrew Hoole look in form and hungry, with the latter riding high after scoring his second Hyundai A-League goal last week. 

WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Nigel Boogaard. The Jets skipper rose highest to bury a header against the Wanderers to help inspire his side to snatch a stunning 2-2 draw at Spotless Stadium. The strike marked a special milestone in Australian football - the 20,000th goal scored in Australian national leagues history. 

FORM LINES
Newcastle Jets: DWD
Sydney FC: WWW

PREDICTION
Newcastle Jets 1 Sydney FC 2