Preview: North Queensland v Newcastle
Ian Ferguson and Robbie Fowler have been the talk of the town all season but Townsville went into meltdown when these two strong personalities had a difference in opinion on the eve of North Queensland's match against Brisbane.
Date: Tuesday, February 2 Kick-off: 7:30pm local (8:30pm AEDT) Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium
TV and Radio: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1, 1 HD and Sky Sport 1. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head Played 2: Wins: North Queensland 0, Newcastle 2, Draws: 0
Previous meeting Newcastle Jets 3, North Queensland 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium, Round 20, December 2009
Past five matches: North Queensland: Round 20: Newcastle Jets 3, North Queensland 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 21: North Queensland 1, Melbourne Victory 0, Dairy Farmers Stadium Round 22: Central Coast 1, North Queensland 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 23: Wellington Phoenix 3, North Queensland Fury 0, Westpac Stadium Round 24: North Queensland 1, Brisbane Roar 1, Dairy Farmers Stadium
Wellington Phoenix: Round 21: Perth Glory 4, Newcastle Jets 0, ME Bank Stadium Round 22: Newcastle Jets 3, Melbourne Victory 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 19: Gold Coast United 2, Newcastle 0, Skilled Park Round 23: Brisbane Roar 0, Newcastle 2, Suncorp Stadium Round 24: Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney FC 3, EnergyAustralia Stadium
Analysis: Ian Ferguson and Robbie Fowler have been the talk of the town all season but Townsville went into meltdown when these two strong personalities had a difference in opinion on the eve of North Queensland's match against Brisbane.
The scenario meant Fowler chose to watch the game from the grandstands rather than play and Ferguson could only conjure a 1-1 draw against the Roar. The result means the Fury will more than likely need to win their last three games and hope for the best if they are to play finals in their first season.
It's an unlikely scenario given the distractions of the week and the injury to Kiwi international Jeremy Brockie, but stranger things have happened. Fowler is back and is sure to start on the pitch while David Williams is in form after scoring the team's 55th-minute equaliser last weekend.
And Dyron Daal will be looking forward to this clash as he scored two goals the last time these two teams met.
North Queensland will also feel Newcastle is a little vulnerable after its 3-1 loss to Sydney FC last week.
The Jets scored first with Jobe Wheelhouse striking in the 32nd minute but a lapse in concentration on either side of the half-time break cost them dearly. The score-line was embarrassing but Newcastle is probably feeling more frustrated than anything after having its fair share of the ball and shots on goal.
What the result does mean is the Jets can kiss their slim hope of reaching the top-two goodbye. Instead they'll be playing to earn a home game in the first week of finals. It's hard to pick a winner in this one but wing-back Tarek Elrich reckons he can stop Williams and the side welcomes back Jason Hoffman and Kaz Patafta.
The Jets, who have won their past two against the Fury, have too much to play and will be after all three points in this one.
North Queensland Fury squad: 1.Paul HENDERSON (gk), 2.Robbie MIDDLEBY, 3. Chris TADROSSE, 6. Ufuk TALAY, 7.Jason SPAGNUOLO, 9.Robbie FOWLER (c), 11. David WILLIAMS, 12.Jack HINGERT, 13.Beau BUSCH, 14.Chris GROSSMAN, 16. Paul KOHLER, 17. Osama MALIK, 19. James DOWNEY, 20. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 23. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 24 Dyron DAAL, 26 Matt SMITH, 21. John TAMBOURAS In: Jack HINGERT (promoted), Osama MALIK (promoted), John TAMBOURAS (promoted), Robbie FOWLER (returns to squad), Chris GROSSMAN (promoted)
Out: Jeremy BROCKIE (Broken Leg - 8/10 weeks), Grant SMITH (not selected)
Unavailable: Jacob TIMPANO (hamstring 2 - 4 weeks), Scott WILSON (knee - indefinite), Shane STEFANUTTO (knee - indefinite), James ROBINSON (knee- indefinite), Karl DODD (knee - indefinite), Terry COOKE (not selected), Fred AGIUS (not selected)
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Michael BRIDGES, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 25. Labinot HALITI, 26. Ali ABBAS, 30. Dion SHAW (gk)
In: Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), Kaz PATAFTA (promoted)
Out: Angelo COSTANZO (not selected)
Unavailable: Shaun ONTONG (Achilles - indefinite), Fabio VIGNAROLI (knee - indefinite), Marko JESIC (knee - indefinite), Neil YOUNG (gk) (face - 2/3 weeks)