Newcastle’s bid for their first win of the Hyundai A-League season does not get any easier on Saturday evening when Sydney FC come to town.
The Jets, Grand Finalists last season, remain winless and sit on the bottom of the table after two defeats from their first three matches.
And while coach Ernie Merrick was encouraged by his side’s performance in a 1-0 home defeat to Melbourne Victory in Round 3, he acknowledged that it was now “important to start picking up three points straight away”.
But it is a tough ask against the Hyundai A-League leaders, who bounced back from their FFA Cup Final 2018 disappointment in terrific fashion, making a real statement with a 3-0 win at Melbourne City last time out.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Newcastle are aiming for a second successive victory against Sydney FC, which they have only managed once before (October-December 2012).
- Sydney FC have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven games against Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium, while they last failed to score there in September 2008.
- The Jets have been kept goalless in four of their last five games at McDonald Jones Stadium, as many as they had in their previous 25 games at the venue.
THEY SAID IT
"Last week we played against a team desperate for a win, this week it is a team who is sitting on seven points and doing very well. We hope they come out and play a more open, expansive game. That suits us." - Clayton Zane
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, 10.Ronald VARGAS, 11.Mitch AUSTIN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Kaine SHEPPARD, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Nick COWBURN (promoted), 32.Angus THURGATE (promoted)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension - 5 rounds), 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (illness – TBC), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS (foot – TBC)
Sydney FC squad: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2.Aaron CALVER, 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jop van der LINDEN, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.Adam LE FONDRE, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Daniel DE SILVA, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 20.Alex CISAK (gk), 21.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 24.Cam DEVLIN, 25.Joel KING.
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 25.Joel KING (promoted).
Unavailable: 3.Ben WARLAND (foot – 6 weeks), 12.Trent BUHAGIAR (ACL – indefinite), 19.Chris ZUVELA (knee – indefinite), 22.Siem DE JONG (5 weeks - hamstring)
HOW TO WATCH
Tune in on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.50pm (AEDT) for the second leg of Saturday's double-header or watch on the MyFootball Live App.
Be there to see if the Jets can find a way past the in-form Sky Blues. Secure your seat HERE.