It’s second taking on third as the Jets head to Melbourne, kicking off the Australia Day weekend against Melbourne City at AAMI Park.
The Jets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Phoenix last start, while City will be full of confidence after a 5 – 0 rout of Adelaide United.
Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick was keen to solidify his team’s position in the top two.
“I think it’s a great time of year to be playing some of the top teams in the league,” said Merrick.
“We look at games not one at a time, but in groups, and we’re going to play the third and the fourth placed team back-to-back, which times well leading into the final third of the season.”
Currently, the Jets sit four points clear of City in third position and a further seven points ahead of the Victory in fourth.
“No doubt City will be up for this game, they’re coming off the back of a good win,” added Merrick.
“We’ve taken a look at a few things from last week’s match and while it was a disappointing result there were some important lessons to learn, lessons better learnt now than in the finals.”
Riley McGree will line up as Jet for the first time and is expected to take part in the clash via the bench, following his return from the AFC U23 Championships in China.
Ben Kantarovski is back to full fitness after playing 20 minutes from the bench against the Phoenix, while skipper Nigel Boogaard will take his place after requiring some stitches following a head knock last weekend.
Despite some strong performances on the training pitch this week, Merrick has resisted the urge to play star marksman, Roy O’Donovan who has recovered well from groin tear.
“He’s driving me absolutely mad,” said Merrick of the Irishman.
“Roy can’t wait to get back out on the pitch and he’s been looking fantastic at training, he’s banging in goals for fun.
“I would have loved to play him but we want to get another full week of training in before we seriously consider him.”
By the numbers:
- Five of Newcastle Jets’ last six games away from home have been decided by a score of 2-1, with the Jets picking up three wins in that span.
- The Jets have scored 37 goals already this campaign; only once in A-League history have they scored more in a single season (38 goals from 27 games in 2011/12).
- The Jets are just three goals away from scoring the 400th in their history.
Thursday, 25 January 2018
Melbourne City FC v Newcastle Jets
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Kick-Off: 7:50 PM (AEDT)
Referee: Kurt Ams
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: myfootballnation.com (1116SEN, SRN and SportFM Perth). ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live
Join the conversation: #MCYvNEW
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 10.Wayne BROWN, 11.Patricio RODRIGUEZ, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 14.Riley MCGREE, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Joseph CHAMPNESS, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 14.Riley MCGREE (return from international duty), 16.Nick COWBURN (return from international duty), 19.Kostsa PETRATOS (promoted)
Outs: 32.Angus THURGATE (omitted)
Unavailable: 8.Ronald VARGAS (ankle – indefinite), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (groin – 5 weeks)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3.Scott JAMIESON, 4.Harrison DELBRIDGE, 6.Osama MALIK, 7.Nick FITZGERALD, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 13.Stefan MAUK, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 15.Denis GENREAU, 18.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Marcin BUDZINSKI, 34.Connor METCALFE, 44.Ross MCCORMACK
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 4. Harrison DELBRIDGE (returns from suspension), 11. Bruce KAMAU (promoted), 15. Denis GENREAU (promoted), 21. Ruon TONGYIK (promoted)
Outs: 5. Bart SCHENKEVELD (yellow card accumulation - 1 week), 37. Nathaniel ATKINSON (ankle),
Unavailable: 23. Bruno FORNAROLI (ankle)