Preview: Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets

Newcastle have had the wood on Melbourne Victory since the inception of the Hyundai A-League and that trend continued earlier this season when the Jets were victorious at Ausgrid Stadium.

Date: Saturday January 7 Kick-off: 7:45pm AEDT Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Head-to-head Played 19: Wins: Melbourne Victory 6, Newcastle Jets 9, Drawn: 4

Previous encounter Newcastle Jets 3, Melbourne Victory 1, Ausgrid Stadium, December 3 2011

History: Newcastle have had the wood on Melbourne since the inception of the Hyundai A-League and that trend continued earlier this season when the Jets were victorious at Ausgrid Stadium. Carlos Hernandez opened the scoring for the Victory that day, but two goals from Ryan Griffiths and a strike from Labinot Haliti ensured the Jets cruised to a 3-1 win.

Form: Past five matches: Melbourne: DWLLL Newcastle: LLLDW

Summary of form: Victory have now lost three games on the trot, but will be happy to be back in Melbourne given their imposing record at home. Victory are yet to lose a home match in Melbourne this season, with two wins and five draws already to their name.

The Jets bounced back to form with a 3-2 win over Gold Coast on Wednesday and will be looking to build on that and hang on to their position in the top six. However, the Jets have picked up just one point on their travels this campaign and will need to overturn that trend if they are to feature at the business end of the season.

Match Committee: Victory will be hoping to get Adrian Leijer back in their line-up after the skipper missed the midweek clash against Central Coast through injury. Leijer could be in line to replace central defender Petar Franjic who made a costly mistake against the Mariners, while Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic may also recall left-back Fabio to the starting XI.

Jobe Wheelhouse may return from his foot complaint to tackle Victory, while Francis Jeffers looks likely to still be sidelined with his ankle injury. Jets coach Gary van Egmond may make a couple of changes to his starting line-up, with striker Labinot Haliti impressive in his role as a substitute against Gold Coast.

Danger men: Archie Thompson - It seems that if Thompson doesn't fire, Victory struggle. Thompson has scored six goals already this season and has played his role in setting up many of Victory's other attacking forays.

Jeremy Brockie - The 24-year-old has been a revelation at the Jets this season, with a midweek brace against the Gold Coast highlighting what has already been an impressive campaign. The Jets attack a lot through Brockie and Victory will need to keep a close eye on the much-improved forward.

At the end of the day ... Both these sides have had inconsistent starts to the season and will look to this clash to get some important momentum going as we head into the second half of the campaign.

While Victory have lost three on the trot, they are a much better side when they play at home and a big crowd should be on hand to cheer on Thompson, Kewell, Hernandez and co.

Conversely, the Jets away form has been woeful. Just one point from six matches on the road and a mere three goals scored in comparison to 15 conceded.

While anyone should be wary of backing Victory in any match this season, they should be able to gain the three points in this one - but just by the single goal.