Match preview: Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
Alen Stajcic has been thrown straight into the furnace in his first game in charge as interim Central Coast Mariners boss with an F3 Derby against the in-form Newcastle Jets.
Stajcic was appointed to the role on caretaker basis on Tuesday, following Mike Mulvey’s sacking after the Mariners were walloped 8-2 by Wellington Phoenix last weekend.
The result was the low-point of what has been a pretty forgettable campaign for the Gosford club, who are playing for little more than pride over the next six games.
But they could put a serious dent in the Jets’ finals hopes if they can get a result at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
Ernie Merrick’s side – who beat Melbourne Victory 2-0 in Geelong in their last outing – are within four points of the top six off the back of five games without defeat.
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While form and recent history between these two – the Jets have won the last five F3 derbies scoring 18 goals – would suggest a comfortable home win, the ‘new-coach factor' makes this an intriguing battle.
The Jets will also have to do without three youngsters who have been called up for Australia U23 duty, with Joey Champness, Johnny Koutroumbis and Ivan Vujica all in Graham Arnold’s squad.
Key Opta stats
- Central Coast Mariners are winless in their last eight away games against Newcastle Jets in the Hyundai A-League (D6 L2). Their last victory at McDonald Jones Stadium came back in December 2012.
- The Jets have scored 26 goals in the league in 2018/19, 8.35 goals fewer than their Expected Goals figure suggests. Only Adelaide United (-10.18) have underperformed on the goalscoring front more.
- Jets striker Roy O’Donovan has scored five Hyundai A-League goals against the Mariners in four games against them. Only against Perth Glory (6) has he scored more goals in the league.
Ins and Outs
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Jair, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Ronald VARGAS, 11.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Kaine SHEPPARD, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matt RIDENTON, 28.Pat LANGLOIS, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY **two to be omitted**
Ins: 10.Ronald VARGAS (return from injury), 11.Kawabena APIAH (promoted), 16.Nick COWBURN (promoted), 19.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted), 28.Pat LANGLOIS (promoted), 32.Angus THURGATE (promoted)
Outs: 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI (calf – 1 week), 13.Ivan VUJICA (international duty), 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (international duty), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS (international duty)
Unavailable: 3.Jason HOFFMAN (ankle – TBC)
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY,11.Connor PAIN, 17.Peter KEKERIS, 18.Matt MILLAR, 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW, 24.Joe GAUCI (gk), 25.Jordan MURRAY, 26.Josh NISBET, 28.Sam GRAHAM, 29.Stephen MALLON, 33.Lewis MILLER,68.Jem KARACAN **two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Andrew HOOLE (promoted), 8.Tom HIARIEJ (return from injury) 11.Connor PAIN (promoted), 23.Mario SHABOW (return from injury)
Outs: 27.Charles M’MOMBWA (not selected), 34.Michael GLASSOCK (not selected)
Unavailable: 10.Tommy OAR (knee inury), 13.Aiden O’Neill (international duty), 15.Kye ROWLES (international duty), 19.Matt SIMON (suspended), 21.Corey GAMEIRO (calf)
How to watch
CLICK HERE to be at McDonald Jones Stadium for the final F3 Derby of the season.