Newcastle Jets kick-started their Hyundai A-League season ahead of the visit of the competition’s pacesetters Perth Glory to McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The Jets registered just their second win of the campaign – and first at home – with their 2-0 disposal of Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
It was new attackers Kaine Sheppard and Jair who got on the scoresheet, both scoring their first Hyundai A-League goals in the process.
The striking position had been a concern for coach Ernie Merrick all season but with the pair finally breaking their duck – and with Roy O’Donovan to serve the last of his 10-game ban this weekend – things are looking up in that department.
They’ll need all their attacking options to fire in order to get past a Glory defence which has shipped just seven goals all season.
Tony Popovic’s men kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Melbourne City last time out, with Chris Ikonomidis continuing his rich vein of form by netting the winner.
But the pacy winger isn’t Glory’s only threat going forward. Diego Castro is three games into his return from injury and has looked better with each outing.
And striker Andy Keogh has gone three games without a goal. He rarely stays quiet for long, which is ominous for the home side.
Glory wing-back Ivan Franjic has also been in excellent form and his nine successful crosses from open play this campaign is three more than any other player in the competition.
Key Opta Stats
- Newcastle Jets have won just two of their last 20 Hyundai A-League games against Perth Glory (D4, L14); their last win at home against the Glory was over seven years ago (Round 5, 2011/12).
- Glory are undefeated in their last 10 visits to McDonald Jones Stadium (W6, D4), conceding just eight goals in that time.
- The Jets are one of just two teams (Brisbane Roar) yet to find the back of the net within the opening 15 minutes of a game this season.
Ins and Outs
Newcastle Jets: 1.Glen MOSS (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Jair, 10.Ronald VARGAS, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Kaine SHEPPARD, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 3.Jason HOFFMAN (return from injury), 22.Lachlan JACKSON (return from injury)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 1 round), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS (foot – TBC)
Perth Glory squad: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 3.Jason DAVIDSON, 4.Shane LOWRY, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Joel CHIANESE, 9.Andy KEOGH, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 14.Chris HAROLD, 15.Brandon WILSON, 16.Tomislav MRCELA, 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 20.Jake BRIMMER, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 27.JUANDE, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 88.Neil KILKENNY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 14.Chris HAROLD (promoted), 22.Fabio FERREIRA (promoted), 27.JUANDE (promoted)
Outs: 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC (injury)
Unavailable: 2.Alex GRANT (foot – 2 weeks), 23.Scott NEVILLE (ankle - 2 weeks), 13.Matthew SPIRANOVIC (hamstring – 1 week)
How to watch
Don't miss the Jets’ clash against top-of-the-table Glory at 5pm (AEDT) on Fox Sports 505 or via the MyFootball Live App.
Ensure you don't miss a seat on what should be a great Sunday afternoon in the Hunter. Get your tickets here.