Even though these two sides are at opposite ends of the Hyundai A-League ladder, this NSW derby should be an absolute ripper. The Jets have new-found confidence, but Sydney’s road form is imperious as they continue to push for the Premier's Plate.
Friday, 17 April
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 7.40pm (Local) 7.40pm AEST)
Newcastle Jets 3. Taylor REGAN, 7. Enver ALIVODIĆ, 10. Travis COOPER, 11. Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTAÑO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk) (C), 21. Daniel MULLEN, 22. LEE Ki-je, 26. Nicholas COWBURN, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 29. Michael KANTAROVSKI, 30. John SOLARI (Gk), 31. Max BURGESS *one to be omitted*
Ins 10. Travis COOPER (promoted)
Unavailable 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee – indefinite), 2. Scott NEVILLE (groin – 2 weeks), 8. Zenon CARAVELLA (ankle – 1 week), 15. Joshua BARRESI (knee – season), 17. James VIRGILI (ankle – 2 weeks)
Sydney FC 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 5.Matt JURMAN, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Marc JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 26.Jacques FATY, 27.Mickael TAVARES, 29.George BLACKWOOD, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV
***two to be omitted***
Ins 9.Shane SMELTZ (return from suspension), 27.Mickael TAVARES (return from injury).
Unavailable 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip – indefinite), 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 17.Terry ANTONIS (knee - 1 weeks), 19.Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite).
TV broadcast – Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEST) and SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm (AEST)
Radio broadcast – Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee Peter Green
Assistant Referee 1 Nathan MacDonald
Assistant Referee 2 Anton Shchetinin
Fourth Official Stephen Lucas
Sydney FC are shooting for a seventh straight win on the road and head to a place where they have enjoyed a huge amount of success in recent years.
The Sky Blues have lost just once on their last 11 games in Newcastle; an incredible record made even more impressive by seven victories in that stretch.
The last of those was a 1-0 triumph in March. That was a tight win for Graham Arnold’s side and you would expect it to be just as tight on Friday night.
Newcastle is desperate to end a tough season on a positive note and they have shown strong improvement in recent weeks.
No-one would have predicted their shock win over league-leaders Melbourne Victory last week. They would love nothing more than to put the kybosh on Sydney FC’s premiership hopes with another big performance.
Given their best result of the season last week, there’s unlikely to be any need for Jets boss Phil Stubbins to make any changes to his 11. Travis Cooper has been added to an extended squad.
Mickael Tavares has been named to return for the Sky Blues and, if fit, should take the spot of Rhyan Grant in midfield. Nikola Petkovic should be fine despite limping off late against Perth last week, with Alex Gersbach waiting in the wings if needed.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Sydney FC has not conceded a single goal in their last 451 minutes of Hyundai A-League action against Newcastle Jets.
-Newcastle Jets have claimed victory only once in their last 11 home games against Sydney FC (D3 L7).
-Newcastle Jets have lost three consecutive Hyundai A-League home games heading into this fixture and have failed to score there in the last four.
-Sydney have registered four goalless draws this term; a Hyundai A-League-low.
-Newcastle Jets have managed just 196 shots this term which is the fewest in the Hyundai A-League. Sydney has mustered 280 shots which is a league-high.
ROUTE TO GOAL
Newcastle’s mid-season recruit Enver Alivodic took some time to get used to the Hyundai A-League but has showed his quality over the last few weeks.
He came to the Jets with a reputation of being able to produce some attacking gems and he is starting to deliver. What a handy player he looks.
His strength, powerful run and assist for Edson Montano’s goal last week was brilliant and Phil Stubbins will hope is a sign of things to come.
The Sky Blues have striker Shane Smeltz back from suspension and he’ll add some firepower off the bench.
While Marc Janko has gone three games without a goal – somewhat of a drought for the Austrian skipper – skipper Alex Brosque and Bernie Ibini look to be finding their scoring boots. Perfect timing with the Finals Series around the corner.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Andrew Hoole. The pacy winger has been the Jets most consistent player this season but will turn out in his final home match for the club before joining up with Graham Arnold and the Sky Blues next season. What a shame for Jets fans he’ll be in different colours next year. Can he finish his time in the Hunter on a high and dent his future employer’s Premiers’ Plate hopes in the process? His pace and direct approach is sure to be a threat to the visitors.
FORM LINES (last five games)
Newcastle Jets: WLLWL
Sydney FC: WLWLW
The Jets moved off the bottom of the ladder with a stunning 1-0 win over league-leaders Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park. It was just their second win on the road this season and only their third clean sheet.
Sydney FC made it 12 games in a row away from home without defeat with a comfortable 3-0 win over the besieged Perth Glory. Sydney won the previous clash in the Hunter this season 1-0, while the other clash was a dour 0-0 draw.
DID YOU KNOW?
Shane Smeltz has scored the most goals of any opposition player against the Jets. He has scored 10 goals in 14 matches against them, although he has failed to score in his last two and hasn’t scored at Hunter Stadium since 2009. So watch out for Smeltzy!
Newcastle Jets 1-2 Sydney FC
Even with Sydney FC’s incredible away form, this looms as a real banana-skin game for the Sky Blues. The Jets have grown in confidence in the last few weeks – with two wins from their last four – and will put up a huge fight in their final home match of the season.
Sydney might just shade it, but it won’t be easy. The Jets owe it to their fans to make this one a game to remember.