Preview: Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory

Glory enjoy a pretty good record against the Jets over the last few years, having only lost to them on three occasions in the last three seasons.

Date: Saturday, November 5 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT, 2.30pm AWST Venue: Ausgrid Stadium

Head-to-head Played 18: Newcastle 5, Perth 9, Draws: 4

Previous encounter Newcastle 4 Perth 0, Ausgrid Stadium, February 2011

History: Glory enjoy a pretty good record against the Jets over the last few years, having only lost to them on three occasions in the last three seasons. However, two of those losses came last year as Glory slumped to a second-last finish on the table. Perth may have won the first clash between these two teams in 2010-11, but Newcastle returned fire in a big way. In September last season, Newcastle dominated Perth in a 2-0 result at Ausgrid Stadium, then EnergyAustralia Stadium, that really set in motion the form slump that afflicted Glory for the remainder of the year. Adding insult to injury, the Jets smashed them 4-0 for good measure in the final game of the season.

Form: Matches so far: Newcastle: WLWL Perth: WWWL

Newcastle continued their stop-start opening to the new campaign that's seen them go win-loss-win-loss over the first four weeks. They actually weren't too bad in a 3-1 defeat by Gold Coast, but were undone by some glorious goalscoring by the glitter strip side.

Perth, meanwhile, were looking for a record fourth consecutive win when they travelled to Bluetongue Stadium last Saturday. However, the Glory have never won in Gosford in this competition and they couldn't do it this time either. Despite an early goal from Travis Dodd and a complete dominance of play in the first half-hour, they couldn't take their chances and the Mariners capitalised, scoring twice against the run of play to secure the points.

Match Committee:

Newcastle look likely to field English striker Francis Jeffers in this encounter after his Australian work visa was cleared over the last few days. Jeffers, though, hasn't played since his releases from Scottish club Motherwell in June, so he may be more likely to play a substitute role. Jets midfielders Ruben Zadkovich, Ben Kantarovski and Jobe Wheelhouse are also apparently battling minor injuries but Brazilian defender Tiago has a hamstring strain and won't play.

Glory, meanwhile, are still hopeful of key defender Chris Coyne featuring in this match. Coyne came off 20 minutes into last weekend's loss to Central Coast with what was apparently a groin issue at the time. Since then we've discovered it's actually a hip flexor problem. But having had an injection, Coyne trained on Thursday and if he makes it through a final training run before the game, will definitely be in contention. The Glory have other injury issues though. New recruit Steve Pantelidis has a heel/achilles problem while the cursed Evan Berger will miss eight weeks with a hamstring injury. Reserve goalkeeper Neil Young is also unavailable after having abdominal surgery three weeks ago.

Danger men: Francis Jeffers - It's a bit of a mystery whether Jeffers will be fit enough to last the whole game, but his influence at Newcastle was certainly felt during a guest stint last season. Now that he's a permanent addition to Gary van Egmond's squad, the 30-year-old will be looking for even bigger and better things.

Travis Dodd - The former Adelaide United captain had been a somewhat subdued force for the Glory over the opening three rounds of the season, playing on a right wing. But Dodd showed his predatory instincts in just the sixth minute last week when he produced an opportunistic glancing header from Scott Neville's cross to give his side the lead.

At the end of the day… Both sides will be looking to return to winnings ways as they prepare for an intriguing clash in Newcastle on Saturday evening. Perth Glory shouldn't be too worried by travelling, seeing as they have been based on the Central Coast for the last week. It was a good thing that was previously arranged as well, for the Qantas dispute would have seriously affected Perth's travel arrangements. But with a solid week of acclimatising behind them, they will be prepped and ready to take on Gary van Egmond's side.

Although Perth's players and coach Ian Ferguson have stressed throughout the week that they can only focus on preparing themselves for this clash, they must be worried at the back of their minds by what van Egmond will bring to the table. This is because much of their pre-season scouting and research on this Jets side would be based on the way former coach Branko Culina had prepared them over the winter. But Culina's sacking and van Egmond's appointment means a lot of this is somewhat irrelevant. Of course, in just under a fortnight at the helm, van Egmond won't have had enough of a chance to impose his systems and ideas onto the side. But it's this combination of the way van Egmond wants them to play and their former strategies that may make Newcastle somewhat unpredictable in this encounter. Add in the fact that a quality performer like Jeffers is returning to the side and you'd forgive the Glory's defence for having a few sleepless nights.

But Perth have already demonstrated they're a much more composed outfit this year than last. They have experienced performers in the ranks and players very capable of scoring. They have also spent much of this week working on their ball retention and setting up attacking moves from defence, an area they failed in last week. This is setting itself up to be a really entertaining affair, but I suspect a draw may be on the cards.