Preview: Newcastle v Adelaide
The Newcastle Jets will be eyeing the match against the Reds as a chance to enjoy a much-needed boost in confidence.
Date: Friday, February 12 Kick-off: 8pm local Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, 1 HD and Sky Sport 2 (delayed). League club broadcast partners are 1233 ABC Newcastle and 107.9 Life FM. To purchase tickets visit www.proticket.com.au
Head-to-head Played 15: Wins: Newcastle Jets 5, Adelaide United 6. Draws: 4
Previous meeting Adelaide United 0, Newcastle Jets 2, Hindmarsh Stadium, Round 17, December 2009
Past five matches: Adelaide United: Round 23: Adelaide United 1, Central Coast Mariners 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 19: Adelaide United 2, Perth Glory 3, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 24: Melbourne Victory 2, Adelaide United 0, Etihad Stadium Round 25: Wellington Phoenix 1, Adelaide United 0, AMI Stadium Round 26: Adelaide United 2, Brisbane Roar 0, Hindmarsh Stadium
Newcastle Jets: Round 19: Gold Coast United 2, Newcastle Jets 0, Skilled Park Round 23: Brisbane Roar 0, Newcastle Jets 2, Suncorp Stadium Round 24: Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney FC 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 25: North Queensland 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Dairy Farmers Stadium Round 26: Central Coast 3, Newcastle Jets 0, Bluetongue Stadium
Analysis: Newcastle's place in the top six is secure and its players know they'll be travelling in the first week of finals.
It means there's little riding on the Jets' match against the Reds except a much-needed boost in confidence.
Newcastle has lost its past three matches with the 0-3 result against Central Coast the most damaging.
Striker Labinot Haliti was sent off the pitch after receiving two yellow cards in the second half while Song Jin-hyung (hamstring) and Nikolai Topor-Stanley (hip) have also been ruled out of this game with injury.
Jason Hoffman, Scott Balderson and Mirjan Pavlovic have been promoted to cover the losses.
Meanwhile Adelaide United has had its weekly bout of controversy with Aurelio Vidmar ineligible to take part in the ACL as a 'senior coach'.
Thankfully it's only an administrative hitch for the Reds who finally felt the wheel was turning after they recorded a drought-breaking 2-0 victory over Brisbane Roar last Friday.
Goals to Fabian Barbiero and Lucas Pantelis saw United record their first win and first clean sheet since Round 18.
Mathew Leckie, who this week was nominated for the NAB Player of the Year award, was also in promising form while Marcos Flores' efforts in his debut have earned him a start this weekend. Expect midfielder Adam Hughes to make way for the Argentine.
The pressure is off United but their enthusiasm is high with their Asian Champions League campaign just around the corner. The players are fighting for spots and the coaches have a new group of players to work with.
All of these factors ensure Adelaide will give Newcastle one hell of fright but it's too early to jump back on United's little red wagon just yet. Count on the Jets to hit back in preparation for a tough A-League finals campaign.
Newcastle squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, , 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 14. Michael BRIDGES, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 26. Ali ABBAS, 27. Scott BALDERSON, 29. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 30. Dion SHAW (gk)
In: Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), Scott BALDERSON (promoted), Mirjan PAVLOVIC (promoted)
Out: Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (hip - 1 week), Jin-Hyung SONG (hamstring - 1 week), Labinot HALITI (suspended - 1 week)
Unavailable: Jobe WHEELHOUSE (groin - 1/2 weeks), Shaun ONTONG (Achilles - indefinite), Sean ROONEY (calf - 1 week), Fabio VIGNAROLI (knee - indefinite), Marko JESIC (knee - indefinite), Neil YOUNG (gk) (face - 1/2 weeks)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.ALEMAO, 4.Iain FYFE, 5.Daniel MULLEN, 6.CASSIO, 7. Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Kristian SARKIES, 10.Adam HUGHES, 11.Lloyd OWUSU, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Scott JAMIESON, 17.Michael MARRONE, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 19.Mathew LECKIE, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 21.Mark RUDAN, 24.Marcos FLORES
In: ALEMAO (promoted), Kristian SARKIES (promoted), Mark RUDAN (returns from injury)
Unavailable: Joe COSTA (knee - long term injury list), CRISTIANO (knee - indefinite)