A Friday night NSW derby looms as a ripper - the visiting Sky Blues are the hottest side in the league, scoring for fun lead by giant Austrian striker Marc Janko. Hosts the Jets have steadied the ship and with exciting talent Andrew Hoole back, are desperate to notch what would be just their second win all season.
Friday, 6 March 2015
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 7.40pm (Local) 7.40pm AEDT)
Newcastle Jets 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Enver ALIVODIĆ, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 10. Travis COOPER, 11. Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTANO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 18. Allan WELSH, 19. Mitch COOPER, 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk) (C), 21. Daniel MULLEN, 22. Ki-je LEE, 25. Brandon LUNDY, 27. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 30. John SOLARI (Gk)
***two to be omitted***
Ins 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI (returns from suspension), 11. Andrew HOOLE (returns from suspension), 25. Brandon LUNDY (promoted), 30. John SOLARI (Gk) (promoted)
Outs 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee - indefinite), 26. Nick COWBURN (knee - 2 weeks)
Unavailable 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN (Gk) (knee - indefinite), 15. Joshua BARRESI (knee - season), 17. James VIRGILI (ankle - 6 weeks), 26. Nick COWBURN (knee - 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, 12.Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE C, 17.Terry ANTONIS, 18. Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23.Rhyan GRANT, 25.Aaron CALVER, 29. George BLACKWOOD, 34.Robert STAMBOLZIEV.
***two to be omitted***
Ins 25.Aaron CALVER (promoted), 29. George BLACKWOOD (promoted), 12.Hagi GLIGOR (promoted), 18. Peter TRIANTIS (promoted)
Outs 16.Alex GERSBACH (suspended - 1 week), 27.Mickael TAVARES (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee - indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee - indefinite), 19.Nick CARLE (knee - indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip - indefinite), 26.Jacques FATY (1 week - hamstring)
TV broadcast - Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio broadcast - Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app
Referee Matthew Conger
Assistant Referee 1 Ryan Gallagher
Assistant Referee 2 Andrew Lindsay
Fourth Official Chris Young
This is a fixture the Sky Blues love, having lost just once on their last 10 trips to the Hunter, including an impressive six victories in that time.
And there's nothing to suggest that record will change given the sides' respective form this season. While the Jets appear to have been able to put the off-field distractions aside to get results of late, taking on the power of Sydney FC is a totally different proposition.
The Jets will be boosted by the return from suspension of Ben Kantarovski and Andrew Hoole, with the pair likely to come straight back into the starting side. Nick Cowburn and Mitch Cooper are the duo that could drop out to make way for the influential pair.
The Sky Blues will also be forced into at least a couple of changes with both Alex Gersbach and Mickael Tavares suspended. While Terry Antonis will be a direct replacement for Tavares, the make-up of the defence will be interesting. Arnold may shift Matt Jurman to left-back meaning Sebastian Ryall will come into the middle and either Rhyan Grant or Aaron Calver will play on the right.
OPTA DATA STATS
-Sydney FC have not conceded a single goal in their last 361 minutes of league action against Newcastle.
-The Jets' miserable season continues - they have won just one of their 19 league games this season (W1 D8 L10).
-In comparison, Sydney FC have won more games in the last two weeks (2) than Newcastle have all season in the A-League.
-Nine of Marc Janko's 12 Hyundai A-League goals this season have come away from home (75 percent).
ROUTE TO GOAL
Janko is undoubtedly the hottest player in the Hyundai A-League right now. The Austrian skipper has scored eight goals in his last five matches and now leads the way in the race for the golden-boot with 12 for the campaign.
The Sky Blues have learned how best to use Janko's strengths and you wouldn't bet against him adding a few more goals to his tally against a Jets side which has kept just two clean-sheets all season.
The home side have struggled for goals, having scored just 16 in their 19 matches and will need to get more support to lone striker Edson Montano. The addition of Enver Alidovic could help them unlock Sydney's under-strength back four.
WHO'S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Andrew Hoole. The Jets winger is likely to return to the starting side having missed last weekend's F3 Derby through suspension. While it's not official yet, Hoole is reportedly on his way to join Graham Arnold at Sydney FC next season and will be keen to show them what he's all about.
Has the pace and energy to be a real threat to the Sky Blues and will need to have a huge game if the home side are to pull off a massive upset.
Phil Stubbins is turning the Jets into a difficult team to beat, Saturday's 0-0 stalemate with the Mariners their third draw in a row. They remain second from bottom on the ladder, three points ahead of last-placed Western Sydney Wanderers FC. In contrast, the Sky Blues are on a seven-game unbeaten run and have won four of their last five after their epic 4-3 derby win over the Wanderers - they have scored 19 goals since returning from the Asian Cup break.
The two sides played out a lacklustre 0-0 draw when they last met in January.
DID YOU KNOW?
Newcastle Jets have picked up a Hyundai A-League-high 52 yellow cards this season, while opponents Sydney FC have the most reds (four).
Newcastle Jets 1-3 Sydney FC
The Jets have a lot more steel in their game over the last few weeks, possessing a lot better organisation and structure, especially in defence. For that reason we expect them to be tough to break down and put up a decent fight. But Sydney's attack has been on another level over the last month and it's hard not to see them getting the goals to secure them all three points.