Preview: Sydney v Newcastle
A vital clash for both sides as the Sky Blues look to bounce back from consecutive defeats away from home, while the Jets travel to Sydney in desperate need of a rare victory on the road in order to stay within reach of the top six.
Date: Sunday November 29 Kick-off: 5pm (AEDT) Venue: Sydney Football Stadium TV and Radio: Live & exclusive broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and Sky Sports 1. To purchase tickets visit www.ticketek.com.au
Head-to-head: Played 15: Wins: Sydney FC 8, Newcastle Jets 2, Draws: 5
Previous meeting: Sydney FC 2, Newcastle Jets 1, Sydney Football Stadium, Round 7, September 2009
Past five matches: Sydney FC: Round 11: Adelaide United 2, Sydney FC 1, Hindmarsh Stadium Round 12: Sydney FC 2, Brisbane Roar 1, Sydney Football Stadium Round 13: Sydney FC 3, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney Football Stadium Round 14: Gold Coast United 1, Sydney FC 0, Skilled Park Round 15: Perth 2, Sydney FC 0, Members Equity Stadium
Newcastle Jets: Round 12: Newcastle Jets 2, Central Coast Mariners 1, Energy Australia Stadium Round 13: Brisbane Roar 1, Newcastle Jets 1, Suncorp Stadium Round 10: Wellington Phoenix 3, Newcastle Jets 0, Westpac Stadium Round 14: Newcastle Jets 2, North Queensland Fury 0, Energy Australia Stadium Round 15: Newcastle Jets 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Energy Australia Stadium
Analysis: A vital clash for both sides as the Sky Blues look to bounce back from consecutive defeats away from home, while the Jets travel to Sydney in desperate need of a rare victory on the road in order to stay within reach of the top six.
Sydney's historical dominance over its state rivals, combined with a formidable record of six wins from seven matches at home this season, sees the hosts enter this clash as heavy favourites. But despite not having won on the road from its previous 15 attempts, the Jets' most recent visit to the SFS in Round 7 - where a Steve Corica penalty goal was the difference - is proof there is very little between these two sides.
The Sky Blues' enter the clash in second place on the ladder on the back of a disappointing 2-0 loss to the Glory in Perth last Sunday. Despite holding their own in the first stanza, the Sydneysiders fell away badly in the second half, conceding two goals to fall out of top spot with a second straight defeat.
Captain Steve Corica's likely return from a hamstring injury is a major boost for Vitezslav Lavicka, however the coach will have to rethink the make-up of his midfield with Karol Kisel ruled out with a groin strain and explosive youngster Kofi Danning still two weeks away with a broken wrist.
Branko Culina's charges were unable to back up their impressive 2-0 victory over the Fury in Round 14, stumbling to a costly 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix in 40-degree conditions last Sunday to remain near the foot of the ladder.
The Jets currently sit in ninth spot, a solitary point clear of North Queensland and four adrift of Wellington Phoenix in sixth spot.
Sunday's encounter marks the start of a treacherous three-week stretch for Branko Culina's men, who travel to Hindmarsh Stadium to face Adelaide next week before hosting Gold Coast United in Round 18.
Culina, who returns to the SFS as the enemy for just the second time since his controversial departure from Sydney FC in 2007, was heavily critical of his side's efforts against the Phoenix labelling the performance 'flat'.
But while his charges will undoubtedly lift against their bitter rivals, the absence of Michael Bridges (hamstring), Fabio Vignaroli (suspended) and first choice keeper Ben Kennedy (groin), won't help their cause.
Sydney FC squad: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 3.Stephan KELLER, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 7 Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 9. John ALOISI, 10. Steve CORICA (c)12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 18.Adam CASEY, 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 22. Sung Hwan BYUN, 23. Rhyan GRANT.
*one to be omitted*
In: Steve Corica (returns from injury), Rhyan GRANT (promoted)
Out: Karol KISEL (groin - one week)
Unavailable: Kofi DANNING (broken hand - 2 weeks)
Newcastle Jets squad: 2. Angelo COSTANZO, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI, 10. Donny DE GROOT, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 15. Sean ROONEY, 16. Jason HOFFMAN, 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 25. Labinot HALITI, 26. Ali ABBAS, 30. Dion SHAW (gk) *three to be omitted*
In: Donny DE GROOT (promoted), Jason HOFFMAN (promoted), Ali ABBAS (promoted)
Out: Fabio VIGNAROLI (suspended - 1 week
Unavailable: Ben KENNEDY (groin - 1 week), Shaun ONTONG (Achilles - indefinite), Michael BRIDGES (hamstring - 1 week), Marko JESIC (knee - indefinite)