Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
The Wellington Phoenix will be looking to maintain the positive vibe around the club following the 2-1 victory over Sydney and the surprise capture of guest player Fred.
Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Date: Sunday November 23 Kick-off: 6.00pm local (4 pm AET) Venue: Westpac Stadium TV: Live and exclusive broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and Sky Sport 2. Hyundai A-League club radio broadcast partner is Radio Network (Wellington) 1035AM and 1233 ABC Newcastle. To purchase tickets visit www.premier.ticketek.co.nz
Head-to-head Four Hyundai A-League meetings: Wellington Phoenix - 1 win, Newcastle Jets - 2 wins, Draws - 1.
Previous meeting Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium, Round 7, September 2008
Past Five Games Wellington: Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 8: Central Coast Mariners 0, Wellington Phoenix 1, Bluetongue Stadium Round 9: Wellington Phoenix 0, Queensland Roar 1, Westpac Stadium Round 10: Perth Glory 2, Wellington Phoenix 0, Members Equity Stadium Round 11: Sydney FC 1, Wellington Phoenix 2, Sydney Football Stadium
Newcastle: Round 7: Newcastle Jets 2, Wellington Phoenix 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 8: Newcastle Jets 1, Melbourne Victory 0, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 9: Central Coast Mariners 1, Newcastle 0, Bluetongue Stadium Round 10: Newcastle Jets 1, Queensland Roar 2, EnergyAustralia Stadium Round 11: Perth Glory 2, Newcastle Jets 2, Members Equity Stadium
Analysis The Wellington Phoenix will be looking to maintain the positive vibe around the club following the 2-1 victory over Sydney and the surprise capture of guest player Fred, but they will be coming up against a Newcastle outfit that's featuring a number of young Australian internationals returning to the squad.
For Wellington, though, the last-gasp victory over Sydney was just what the doctor ordered after two losses in succession left the New Zealanders on the bottom of the table. The Phoenix, now sixth on the Hyundai A-League standings, will be looking to follow up that success with a win over the seventh-placed Jets in order to keep pace with the top four sides.
Wellington has been boosted, though, by recruiting former Melbourne Victory Player of the Season Fred on a short-term deal. The Brazilian looks almost certain to be part of its starting XI on Sunday, taking the place of Chinese international LeiLei Gao, who left the club earlier this week.
Striker Andrew Durante also returns from injury to boost Wellington's forward line, the club skipper likely to replace Leo Bertos in the starting line-up, despite Bertos looking very impressive over the last four matches and scoring the opening goal against the Sky Blues last round.
Yet the Jets appear a substantially more robust unit than the team which travelled to Perth last round, with several quality additions to the squad including Qantas Young Socceroos representatives James Holland, Marko Jesic, Ben Kantarovski and Jason Naidovski.
Danish forward Jesper Hakansson has also been included at the expense of Kaz Patafta, while Jesse Pinto and defender Daniel Piorkowski, whose availability as an injury replacement has been negated by a two-match suspension, both make way as well.
Newcastle forwards Joel Griffiths and Tarek Elrich appear to be growing in confidence by the game and this could be the encounter where they truly fire against a Wellington backline which has been somewhat suspect of late.
The Jets tend to counter-attack rapidly, moving the ball quickly through Mark Milligan in central midfield, but whether they can do this with Milligan's hands tied up by Fred remains to be seen.
The Jets presumably received an almighty bake from coach Gary van Egmond following last round's 2-2 draw with the Glory, with their manager complaining of them not working hard enough during a second half where the Perth side ran rings around Newcastle.
And, with those words certain to be drilled into their skulls all the way from the Hunter Valley to New Zealand, expect the reigning champions to produce a much more emphatic performance this time around.
Wellington Phoenix Squad. 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (captain), 23. Costa BARBAROUSES, 25. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 27. FRED.
* two to be omitted.
In. 22. Andrew DURANTE (return from injury), 27. FRED (new signing).
Unavailable. 17. Vince LIA (knee - season).
Newcastle Jets Squad. 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH (c), 5. James HOLLAND, 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 9. Joel GRIFFITHS, 10. Jin-Hyung SONG, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Adam D'APUZZO, 14. Shaun ONTONG, 16. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI, 20. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 24. Marko JESIC, 26. Mark MILLIGAN.
*two to be omitted.
In. 5. James Holland (returns from international duties), 6. Jesper HAKANSSON, 16. Ben Kantarovski (returns from international duties), 24. Marko Jesic (returns from international duties), 19. Jason Naidovski (returns from international duties)
Out. 7. Kaz PATAFTA, 27. Jesse PINTO, 25. Daniel Piorkowski (end of contract)
Unavailable. 15. Jason Hoffman (knee - season),18. Noel Spencer (ankle - indefinite)