Preview: Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets

Adelaide United and the Newcastle Jets will meet in Round 12 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Coopers Stadium on Sunday, December 29 at 5pm AEDT.

Adelaide United and the Newcastle Jets will meet in Round 12 of the 2013-14 A-League season at Coopers Stadium on Sunday, December 29 at 5pm AEDT.

Head-to-head: Played 26: Wins: Adelaide 10, Newcastle 8, Draws 8

Previous encounter: Adelaide 1-2 Newcastle, November 9, 2013

Form: Past five matches: Adelaide: DWLDL Jets: WLWLW

The Game: Adelaide's mini resurgence continued with a hard-earned 0-0 draw away to Perth Glory in their last outing. It was the second game in a row Josep Gombau's side have managed to keep a clean sheet, which should ensure the Spaniard enjoyed his Christmas lunch a little more. And the news gets even better with the likes of Fabio Ferreira and Daniel Bowles set to return from injury, while Sergio Cirio should also be right to start after only managing a spot on the bench against the Glory.

Newcastle managed arguably the best result of last round, upsetting league-leaders Brisbane 2-0 on their home turf at Suncorp Stadium. The Jets managed to execute Gary van Egmond's gameplan to perfection, sitting back and absorbing pressure before hitting clinically on the break. It's a tactic they will probably use again against the pass-happy Reds. Former Glory, Victory and Phoenix midfielder Nick Ward is available for the Jets after signing as injury cover for Scott Neville, while van Egmond will also be hoping Nathan Burns and Emile Heskey will be fit to play some part in the match.

The big issue: Adelaide – The Reds struggled to penetrate the Glory in the wide areas last week, with Ferreira and Cirio both out of the starting side. The pair, who terrorised the Mariners the week before and crucial to Adelaide's attack and they could again struggle to get adequate service to the likes of Bruce Djite and Jeronimo Neumann if they fail to recover in time to play on Sunday.

Newcastle – You only have to look at the Jets' recent results to know they are struggling with consistency. It's a trait that can often happen with teams that possess so many young players but their impressive crop of youngsters need to find that stability and reliability in their game if the Jets are to stay in the top six and challenge the likes of Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne Victory for the title.

The game breaker: Marcelo Carrusca – The Argentine's season has been disrupted by niggling injuries but there's no doubt he's the one player that is vital to the Reds' chances of success. Carrusca provides the extra bit of class in Adelaide's midfield and his ability to break free of his marker and link the play between defence and striker Bruce Djite will be crucial to the home side's chances of victory.