A spot in the top six is up for grabs on Sunday as Newcastle Jets host Brisbane Roar in the final game of Round 7.
Both sides head into the clash at McDonald Jones Stadium on the back of disappointing losses and searching for a spark to get their campaign up and running.
The Jets simply never got going in their 3-0 loss to Melbourne City last Sunday, with coach Ernie Merrick demanding his players give him more effort on their return to home soil.
The experienced Merrick has pinpointed the next four games – three of which are at home – as vital to his side’s hopes of having a successful season.
A win here and they will leapfrog Roar into the top six.
John Aloisi will be sweating on the fitness of striker Adam Taggart, who could yet feature in this clash despite being substituted in the first half of the loss to Adelaide United last Friday night with a groin injury.
Taggart has scored five of Roar’s seven goals for the season and was included in the club's squad, released on Thursday.
Brisbane have won just once in their last four visits to McDonald Jones Stadium and failed to score a first-half goal in all of those clashes.
They’ll need to fix stat if they are to improve their record against the Jets, who could welcome back some key attacking stars for this one.
Key Opta stats
- Newcastle Jets have won their last three Hyundai A-League games against Brisbane Roar; they have never previously won four games in a row against any opponent.
- Brisbane are the only team yet to concede a goal within the final 15 minutes of a game this Hyundai A-League season.
- The Jets have failed to score a first-half goal in any of their last six Hyundai A-League games on home turf, going on to win just one game in that time (D1, L4).
Ins and Outs
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Jair, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Kaine SHEPPARD, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 8.Jair (return from injury), 11.Mitch AUSTIN (promoted), 14.Kaine SHEPPARD (return from injury)
Outs: 10.Ronald VARGAS (injury – groin), 22.Lachlan JACKSON (injury – nose)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 2 rounds), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS (foot - TBC)
Brisbane Roar FC squad: 1.Brendan WHITE (gk), 2.Dane INGHAM, 4.Daniel BOWLES, 6.Avram PAPADOPOULOS, 7.Thomas KRISTENSEN, 8.Jacob PEPPER, 9.Adam TAGGART, 11.Eric BAUTHEAC, 14.Alex LOPEZ, 15.Stefan NIGRO, 17.Matt MCKAY (c), 19.Jack HINGERT, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Tobias MIKKELSEN, 23.Dylan WENZEL-HALLS, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 26.Nick D’AGOSTINO, 33.HENRIQUE
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 2.Dane INGHAM (promoted), 15.Stefan NIGRO (promoted), 26.Nicholas D’AGOSTINO (promoted)
Outs: 13.Stefan MAUK (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 10.Brett HOLMAN (knee – TBC)
How to watch
Catch all the action on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5:00pm (AEDT) or tune in on the MyFootball Live App, Live Fast and Data Free for Telstra mobile customers.
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