Returning Newcastle Jets defender Jason Hoffman could go head-to-head with wily Wellington Phoenix winger Kosta Barbarouses at Westpac Stadium this Sunday.
Hoffman served a one-game suspension last round for receiving a red card against Brisbane Roar on matchday 22, but could come straight back into Mark Jones’s starting side for the cross-Tasman test.
With many regular ‘Nix players set to miss the match due to national team duty with the All Whites, highly experienced Hyundai A-League campaigner Barbarouses is set to be a key man for Wellington in round 24.
“Kosta (Barbarouses) is a proven player in the league not only this season but in the seasons that have gone before it,” Hoffman told local press in Newcastle this week.
“Missing out on the All Whites squad for this (Fiji) camp would be extra motivation for him to make sure that he gets a job done for the Phoenix.
“They (Wellington) are in the Finals hunt themselves and he is going to be a lively character on Sunday,” he said.
Hoffman said the challenge of nullifying one of the best wingers in the competition would provide him with stimulus.
“When you come up against players that are considered to be some of the better wingers in the league there is extra motivation and you want to do a job for your team,” Hoffman explained.
“If I can keep him quite and we get a result then obviously I have been effective and I have done my job for the team.”
“Kosta is a great dribbler (and) not only has he got pace but he is quite tidy keeping the ball close. He can drag you inside and then take you on the outside and vice-versa. You always have to be ready not only for his first movement, but his second movement.”
“He is a handful, that’s for sure, but in saying that if we can limit the opportunities he gets and cut off the supply to him, that will hopefully go some way to getting the result.”
“For us it is a massive trip this week to Wellington and we have to get the business done,” Hoffman concluded.
Don’t miss this Sunday’s match against the ‘Nix. Kick-off is at 5:00pm (AEDT) and the fixture will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505.