Sunday afternoon will be huge in Newcastle, as the Jets look to bounce back into form with a win over Brisbane Roar.
The previous Sunday was a somewhat forgettable affair as opponents, Melbourne City emerged 3-0 victors at AAMI Park.
It wasn’t what Ernie Merrick’s side was after, especially after the encouraging win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Spotless Stadium the week prior, but all concerned will be keen to make amends this weekend.
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There are a couple of injury concerns in the Newcastle camp – Ronnie Vargas and Jair are both facing to be fit while captain, Nigel Boogaard has also pulled up sore.
Brisbane are a side who the Jets traditionally have a good record against, and in fact it’s Newcastle which has won five of the last six encounters between these two sides.
The Roar are sat just a point above Newcastle on the ladder, with one win and three draws compared to the Jets’ one win and two draws. Last weekend, they went down 2-1 to Adelaide United.
It’s an unknown as to who exactly the travelling side will bring to Newcastle with attackers Adam Taggart and Eric Bautheac potentially on the injury list, while Stefan Mauk will miss a week through suspension.
This weekend could see the return of attacking weapon, Jair, who missed last week’s match with a hip injury. Kaine Sheppard could also be an option, and was named in the squad of Thursday.
Johnny Koutroumbis, who sat on the bench last weekend but was unfortunate the situation didn’t allow him to see gametime for the first time this season, is in once more and will be pushing hard for a spot in the gameday squad.
Nick Cowburn might also be an option for consecutive starts, after his stellar performance last Sunday night will have given the boss plenty to think about.
Midfield maestro, Ronny Vargas has failed to prove his fitness and was left out of the squad by boss, Ernie Merrick for Sunday's clash.
One man who has picked up a slight knock is captain, Nigel Boogaard. The towering centre-back has some soreness in his joints, but don’t expect that to stop him playing on Sunday afternoon.
From the captain
"It takes a lot to keep me off the park, at the end of the day it's up to the boss, but I'll go out there no matter what, if I can," Nigel Boogaard said.
"Everyone's back on deck, and that'll give Ernie some selection headaches this week going into the game. It's good, the more boys we can have ready to go onto the park, training lifts as well. Hopefully we can go into the game with the form that we're showing in training.
"Last weekend, we were keeping possession well in good areas of the park but probably just lacking that final ball and that little bit of creativity to really unlock defences. We've just got to be smarter in key areas of the park and break teams down, unfortunately we were a little bit off the mark last weekend.
"Playing at McDonald Jones Stadium, you've got that home support and the routine of training on your own park, not having to travel, boys with family able to be in their environment. That always helps, and we do have a good record at home.
"It's just about us getting back to the form we've shown in patches, but it's about putting it together for longer periods in the game. We're confident we can find it again, it's just a matter of taking what we do every day on the training park and putting it into practice for 90 minutes."