Preview: Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners

Newcastle is desperate for a victory to get its season going again after a six-match run without a win, but faces the difficult F3 derby against Central Coast, a team it hasn’t beaten since the 2008 Grand Final.

Date: Friday October 23 Kick-off: 8:00 pm AEDT Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle

TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2. Hyundai A-League club broadcast partner is Coast FM 96.3 (Gosford). To purchase tickets visit Head-to-head 18 Hyundai A-League meetings: Newcastle - 6 wins, Central Coast - 5 wins, Draws - 7

Last meeting Central Coast Mariners 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Round 2, August 2009

Past five matches: Newcastle Jets: Round 6: Newcastle Jets 0, Brisbane Roar 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 7: Sydney FC 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 8: Newcastle Jets 0, Perth Glory 1, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 9: Adelaide United 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 10: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium

Central Coast: Round 7: Central Coast 3, Gold Coast United 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 8: Wellington Phoenix 0, Central Coast Mariners 0, Westpac Stadium Round 9: Sydney FC 1, Central Coast 0, Sydney Football Stadium Round 10: Central Coast 1, North Queensland Fury 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 11: Brisbane Roar 0, Central Coast Mariners 3, Suncorp Stadium

Analysis: Newcastle is desperate for a victory to get its season going again after a six-match run without a win, but faces the difficult F3 derby against Central Coast, a team it hasn-t beaten since the 2008 Grand Final.

Branko Culina's men must be getting a little frustrated with playing good football but not getting the result. Last week against Melbourne, the Jets took an early 1-0 lead and had excellent chances to go ahead again when the game was poised at 1-1 in the second half. But as has been the case so many times this season, when the game was there to be one, the Jets were found wanting. In the end, a 3-1 loss looks a comprehensive defeat when in fact they were probably good for a point.

The Jets definitely missed the presence of Ljubo Milicevic last week and will have to do without their inspirational defender for at least another two as he recovers from a heel injury. Shaun Ontong and Marko Jesic are out indefinitely.

Culina is clearly struggling to work out what his best squad is at the moment and he has included six players this week, while omitting only one, back-up stopper Dion Shaw. Dutch striker Donny De Groot, who has only played three games this season, is named along with Jobe Wheelhouse, Sean Rooney, Jason Hoffman, Jason Naidovski and keeper Neil Young. It could be a very different starting XI then the one which took the field against Melbourne last week.

These teams last met in Round 2 when Nigel Boogard's strike cancelled out Jin-Hyung Song's earlier effort and the teams shared their seventh draw in 18 encounters.

The Mariners have been fairly up and down this season, with their nine matches since that last encounter with the Jets yielding three draws, three losses and three wins. The last five weeks has seen to club record its two best wins, 3-0 successes over Gold Coast and Brisbane, two tame draws against lowly-ranked Wellington and North Queensland and a loss to Sydney.

It really is hard to read where Lawrie McKinna's team are at at the moment. They took advantage of a Brisbane side in turmoil last week to win convincingly but still allowed the opposition 23 shots on goal. It was a result which was more about the Roar combusting under the circumstances of the week, but the Mariners found the net three times, including sensational goals from John Hutchison and Pedj Bojic.

Central Coast is unorthodox in that most of its attacking opportunities tend to fall to its midfielders. Bojic and Michael McGlinchey lead the club for shots on goal, while Boogard and Nicky Travis are up there for shots on target. Matt Simon, with four goals, remains the only striker to hit the net this year.

That means that this game will probably be determined by what happens in the middle of the park rather than what occurs in either penalty box.

The Mariners will have a full list to choose from for possibly the first time in history, with experienced heads Ahmed Elrich, Brad Porter and Andrew Clark all included in an extended squad. Porter is likely to come straight in, while McKinna would love to get more out of the injury-plagued Elrich, who has started in only five games since joining the club at the start of last season.

You can expect there to be little between these teams after 90 minutes with the past five F3 Derbies being decided by one goal or less. Typically of a local rivalry, neither side gives much slack to the other and it could come down to which side is able to take the few chances which eventuate.

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 10. Donny DE GROOT, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Michael BRIDGES, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 25. Labinot HALITI, 26. Ali ABBAS *five to be omitted*

In: Donny DE GROOT (promoted), Jobe WHEELHOUSE (promoted), Sean ROONEY (promoted), Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), Neil YOUNG (gk) (promoted), Jason NAIDOVSKI (promoted)

Out: Dion SHAW (gk) (not included)

Unavailable: Ljubo MILICEVIC (heel 1-2 weeks), Shaun ONTONG (Achilles - indefinite), Marko JESIC (knee - indefinite)

Central Coast Mariners squad: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2. Matthew CROWELL, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 5. Brad PORTER, 6. David D'APUZZO, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Dean HEFFERNAN, 11. Dylan MACALLISTER, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 15. Andrew CLARK, 16. Nigel BOOGAARD, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 21. Ahmad ELRICH, 22. Nicky TRAVIS, 23. Adam KWASNIK. *three to be omitted*

In: Andrew CLARK (promoted), Brad PORTER (promoted), Ahmad ELRICH (promoted)

Out: Nil

Unavailable: Nil