Fresh off an important derby win, the Jets look to back in up in a place which has historically been a tough road-trip – Perth.
While the recent stats show that we’ve actually done well in Perth, with two wins in our last three visits there, it’s still an imposing clash with the league leaders.
That’s why a win would be all the more crucial, and the boys will have taken confidence from a gutsy win over the Mariners on Wednesday night.
FIVE THINGS: Sunday's talking points
It snapped a poor run of form which had seen us take just one point from our last five matches, and success in Perth could propel the Jets into the back half of the season.
Also in the back of Jets minds could be redemption – last time we faced Perth back in December, they won out 2-0 in a game which Newcastle dominated.
This weekend’s opponents are going through something of a rough patch, relative to their season so far, with two scoreless draws in their last two outings.
Those draws were with Adelaide and Melbourne City.
Ernie’s Merrick rotation policy paid off midweek, with a number of big names rested in the 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners.
With some time on the sideline under the belts of a few, it’s likely that names such as Ronny Vargas, Jair, and Nigel Boogaard will feature in the starting XI on Sunday.
Jason Hoffman may come back into the side after serving his one-match suspension, while Matt Ridenton is also a chance of returning after his midweek rest.
One player is out – Johnny Koutroumbis, who remained in Newcastle to undergo scheduled medical treatment.
All the signs throughout the week’s training have pointed to that dynamic striking duo, Roy O’Donovan and Kaine Sheppard, partnering up at the top once more.
Does that mean that Ernie will deploy a 3-5-2 similarly to the win over the Mariners, switch to a flat 4-4-2, or something else entirely? All will be revealed on Sunday.
From the coach
“It was a bit of a tough place for us to go recently, but when you look at the record more recently, I don’t think we’ve got anything to fear going over there,” assistant coach, Clayton Zane said.
“I think we’re two from three on our past three trips to Perth… [but] they’re a different team under Tony Popovic, compared to what they were last year under Kenny Lowe, but in saying that I think the last copule of teams that have played them have tested them.
“They’re a team that’s hard to break down, another that’s gone to a back five. They sit very deep, and have got a big counter-attacking weapon in Andy Keogh and Joel Chianese.
“I think we can go across there and definitely dominate possession and put them on the back foot, because we’re one of the most feared teams, from an attacking sense, I would have thought across this league.”