Preview: Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory

Drawing with the Phoenix, and the disastrous result against the Victory in Round 3 should have the Jets fired up for this encounter.

Date: Saturday October 18 Kick-off: 7:00pm local (7:00pm AEST) Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 2 and delayed telecast Sky Sport 1 (12:00am Sunday morning). Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is SEN 1116AM (Melbourne). To purchase tickets visit www.proticket.com.au.

Head-to-head 10 A-League meetings: Newcastle - 5 wins, Melbourne - 3 wins - Draws - 2

Previous meeting Melbourne 5, Newcastle 0, Telstra Dome, Round 3, August 29, 2008

Past Five Games Newcastle: Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome Round 4: Newcastle 0, Sydney FC 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 5: Queensland Roar 0, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 6: Adelaide United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium

Melbourne: Round 3: Melbourne Victory 5, Newcastle Jets 0, Telstra Dome Round 4: Melbourne Victory 1, Adelaide United 0, Telstra Dome Round 5: Central Coast Mariners 2, Melbourne Victory 2, Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium Round 6: Melbourne Victory 0, Queensland Roar 2, Telstra Dome Round 7: Melbourne 4, Perth Glory 0, Telstra Dome

Analysis: Melbourne hadn't beaten Newcastle in two years before its 5-0 drubbing of the Jets in August. Back then the Victory were on a high with Danny Allsopp scoring two goals while Carlos Hernandez, Archie Thompson and Grant Brebner chimed in with one.

Since then, the revitalized Victory have continued their top-of-the-table form and now have a record of four wins, two draws and just one loss.

They should enter this Saturday's clash full of confidence having beaten the Perth Glory 4-0 a fortnight ago. Strengthening their squad will be the return of goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, who spent several weeks on the sidelines suspended, and the hamstrung Hernandez who will slot back into an already imposing midfield.

Meanwhile the re-signings of experienced defender Rody Vargas, Evan Berger and in-form back-up keeper Mitch Langerak may have also strengthened the resolve of the team which wants to make sure its return to the top is a long-term one.

In contrast the reigning champions have found this season tough with their Round 7 draw with the Wellington Phoenix epitomizing their scratchy season.

After the half-time break they went 2-1 up but then conceded an 89th-minute penalty, the second for the match, and had to settle for a point from the game.

It was the team's third draw at home - an early-season statistic that could prove costly when the scramble for a finals position heats up later in the season.

The positive from that last game was a long strike from Tarek Elrich and Kaz Patafta's first goal in Jets colours. And importantly Adam and Joel Griffiths return to the line-up after both went down with leg injuries in Round 6.

Drawing with the Phoenix, and the disastrous result against the Victory in Round 3 should have them fired up. Coach Gary van Egmond says the last Melbourne clash left a mark on his players who are now keen to square the ledger.

Newcastle Jets Squad: 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH (c), 5. James HOLLAND, 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 7. Kaz PATAFTA, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D-APUZZO, 16. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 23. Edmundo ZURA, 24. Marko JESIC, 25. Daniel PIORKOWSKI.

* two to be omitted

In: 5. James Holland (returns from Qantas Young Socceroos duties), 2. Adam Griffiths (returns from injury), 9. Joel Griffiths (returns from injury), 16. Ben Kantarovski (returns from Qantas Joeys duties). Out: 18. Noel Spencer, Antun Kovacic. Unavailable: 14. Shaun Ontong (ankle - indefinite), 15. Jason Hoffman (knee - season).

Melbourne Victory Squad: Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 14.Billy CELESKI, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Jose Luis LOPEZ, 18. Leigh BROXHAM, 19.Evan BERGER, 20.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 22. Nick WARD.

* one to be omitted

In: Michael THEOKLITOS, Carlos HERNANDEZ, Michael THWAITE. Out: Lou ACEVSKI (loan completed), Steven PACE Unavailable: Ney FABIANO (suspended)