Popa's message: 'win and Christmas wine will taste better!'

Tony Popovic says his team won't under-estimate the struggling Jets tomorrow night, with the super-coach hoping he'll taste victory on Christmas Eve so his Christmas Day wine tastes all the sweeter.

The league-leading Wanderers are expected to make light work of the Jets at Pirtek Stadium, with confidence soaring on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run.

In contrast Newcastle has slipped from the Hyundai A-League summit at the start of November to sit seventh less than two months later.

Goals have also dried up for the Hunter club, scoring just once in almost eight hours of play.

Hyundai A-League preview: Wanderers v Jets

It all points to a big Wanderers win but Popovic is wary of a rebound from Scott Miller’s side. 

"This is a game that we want to win. If we go in with that attitude or mindset [that it will be easy], then we'll come unstuck," Popovic told reporters on Thursday.

Wanderers players celebrate after Brendon Santalab equalised against Perth Glory.

"You can't take anyone lightly in this league. They've got a lot of dangerous players in the front third, they showed that early in the season.

"Maybe it's not happening for them in front of goal, but I'm sure it will change. But we just don't want it to change tomorrow.

“We know what to expect, it will be a tough game. But we need to worry about what we can do with the ball and be aware of what their threats without it. 

"If we do that we have to be confident to take three points. Then be able to enjoy Christmas day with the family and friends. 

"That'll make it a lot nicer and I'll enjoy the wine a lot better." 

Helping the Wanderers cause is the return of in-form striker Mark Bridge, who has scored in each of his last four starts for the club.

Bridge was spared the trip to Perth last weekend with a groin problem but is back in the squad, as well as Spanish midfielder Dimas.

"He’s [Bridge] done three sessions which is probably the most he’s done in the last three weeks leading into a game,” Popovic said.

Mark Bridge celebrates after scoring the opener against Melbourne Victory.

“He is strong and fit and he's available tomorrow that's for sure.  Dimas is good, he trained yesterday. I expect him to be ready.”

Dimas is likely to be a straight swap for compatriot Andreu, who is ruled out of the Jets clash through suspension after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season against Glory.

In that match the Wanderers came from behind twice to snatch a 2-2 draw, showing Popovic his side his bucket-loads of character.

“You’re always impressed by that type of thing,” the Wanderers boss said.

“We did that earlier in the season against Newcastle as well. We conceded [the first goal] with 15 to go and we ended up winning the match.

“That gave the players a lot of confidence to know they can win matches in any situation. Maybe that’s why they were some composed going down twice [against Glory].”