Preview: Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers

Large numbers of Wanderers fans are expected to make the trip up the F3 to see if their side can wrap up the Premiers' Plate at Hunter Stadium.

Date: Friday, March 29, 2013 Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT Venue: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

Head-to-head: Played: 2 - Wins: Jets 1, Wanderers 1

Previous encounter: Wanderers 2-1 Jets, February 9, 2013

Form: Past five matches: Jets: DWLLD Wanderers: WWWWD

The Game Western Sydney missed the opportunity to wrap up the Premiers' Plate at home against Sydney FC last weekend but will do it if they can avoid defeat in this clash. But Newcastle won't go down without a fight, with the Jets still holding an outside chance of sneaking into the top six.

While the Wanderers come into this clash a little wounded with a host of their key players either injured or suspended, the home side are fresh and raring to go after having last weekend off.

Tony Popovic's side were dealt a blow this week with the versatile Iacopo La Rocca banned for the rest of the season for his shocking elbow on Sydney's Terry Antonis in the derby. Skipper Michael Beauchamp (quad) is likely to return though.

Shinji Ono (groin) and Aaron Mooy (knee) are rated 50-50 chances to play but winger Youssouf Hersi returns from suspension. In two previous meeting this season, both sides have managed a win apiece with the Wanderers winning the last encounter 2-1 with goals from Hersi and Mark Bridge.

The Big Issue Newcastle: Not only do the Jets need other results to go their way to stay in the finals race, they need to do what no other side has been able to do for the last 11 weeks and beat the Wanderers.

It's a huge task for Gary van Egmond's youthful side, especially considering the A-League new-boys are desperate to secure a point which will hand them the Premiers' Plate. If the Jets can pull off an upset and make the six, it will be well-deserved.

Western Sydney: The Wanderers have had some great luck in the injury department for most of the season but it seems it may have run out at the worst possible time. Jerome Polenz, Shinji Ono, Aaron Mooy and skipper Michael Beauchamp are all battling nagging injuries while the versatile La Rocca won't be seen again until next season due to his suspension.

The club's depth is about to be tested seriously and players who haven't seen a lot of game time will be leaned upon to deliver the club the title.

The Gamebreaker Youssouf Hersi: It really should come as no surprise that the Wanderers didn't extend their winning run last weekend, with Hersi forced to watch from the stands.

The Ethiopian-born winger is a huge part of the Wanderers' attack and is also on an incredible individual winning streak of 15 matches in a row that he has played in. The good news for Jets fans is, the last time Hersi tasted defeat was against Newcastle back in round 6.

Prediction: Jets 2-2 Wanderers As many as 8000 Wanderers fans are expected to make the trip up the F3 to see if their side can wrap up the Premiers' Plate, which should make for a tremendous atmosphere at Hunter Stadium.

Without a win in the last three games the Jets are fortunate to still be in the finals calculations and you can be sure they will have a red-hot crack at ending the Wanderers' undefeated run. Western Sydney's injury toll gives the Jets some hope but it's hard to see Tony Popovic's side throwing away the silverware.