Western Sydney Wanderers host a Newcastle Jets side with a renewed confidence after their comeback against defending Premiers Sydney FC in Round 4.
Ernie Merrick’s men were slow out of the blocks in Round 4, but grew as the game went on.
Nick Cowburn's late equaliser was a just reward for the Jets, who put the Sky Blues to the sword and were unlucky for the score to remain at 1-1.
The Wanderers, meanwhile, return to Spotless Stadium on Friday night, fresh from their home fixture in Mudgee where they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Brisbane Roar.
Oriol Riera's seven-minute brace in the first half appeared enough to help the Wanderers seal two wins in two games, before goals either side of half-time to Alex Lopez and Adam Taggart rescued a point for Brisbane.
Despite the hiccup, Markus Babbel’s men are now unbeaten in their last two, following a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Wellington Phoenix in Round 3.
This form is in stark contrast to their opening two fixtures where they drew 1-1 at Perth, and succumbed to a 2-0 Sydney Derby loss. Now, heading into Round 5, the Wanderers appear a more balanced and confident side.
The Jets began the 2018/19 Season with a 2-1 loss in Wellington, before getting their first points on the board with a 1-1 draw at Adelaide United.
And while the Jets were unlucky not to get a point in their 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory, their Round 4 showing against Sydney FC suggests they are one or two wins away from being a totally different prospect.
KEY OPTA STATS
- Western Sydney have won five of their last nine games against Newcastle (D3, L1), despite leading at half-time on seven occasions in this span.
- Newcastle are winless in their last five fixtures, their longest streak without a victory since a 10-game stretch between February and April 2017.
- Western Sydney have lost just one of their last seven home games (W3, D3), averaging three goals per game in this period.
INS AND OUTS
Western Sydney Wanderers FC squad: 1.Danijel NIZIC, 4.Josh RISDON, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Jordan O’DOHERTY, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Alexander BAUMJOHANN, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 16.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 17.Keanu BACCUS, 18.Marc TOKICH, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Rashid MAHAZI, 24.Raul LLORENTE, 28.Roly BONEVACIA, 33.Tate RUSSELL, 49.Abraham MAJOK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 18.Marc TOKICH (promoted), 28.Roly BONEVACIA (promoted), 33.Tate RUSSELL (promoted)
Outs: 13.Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS (not selected)
Unavailable: 6.Kosta GROZOS (injury - two weeks), 12.Ruon TONGYIK (injury – three weeks), 19.Mark Bridge (injury – four weeks) , 34.Patrick ZIEGLER (injury – one week)
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, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Matthew RIDENTON, 28.Pat LANGLOIS, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 11.Mitch AUSTIN (promoted), 23.Matt RIDENTON (return from injury), 28.Pat LANGLOIS (promoted)
Outs: 14.Kaine SHEPPARD (foot – 3 weeks)
Unavailable: 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension – 4 rounds), 14.Kaine SHEPPARD (foot – 3 weeks), 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (illness - TBC), 24.Joe CHAMPNESS (foot – TBC)
HOW TO WATCH
Watch this blockbuster clash on FOX SPORTS 505 at 7:50pm AEDT or through the MyFootball Live App.
CLICK HERE to secure your seat at Spotless Stadium.