The Newcastle Jets will be aiming to come home with the chocolates on Easter Sunday, as they take on third-placed Melbourne City at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Jets will be looking to turn the tide after a tough fortnight on the road, which culminated in a 5 – 2 defeat to Adelaide last Friday.
Ernie Merrick will welcome back Dimi Petratos (national duty) and Roy O’Donovan (suspension) to bolster his lineup for the blockbuster clash.
Ronald Vargas was the beneficiary of more than hour on field last weekend and continues to improve following his return from injury.
Merrick said he was looking for his side to work towards their semi-final with some positive performances to finish the regular season.
“Although our position on the ladder won’t change, it’s important we play some good football over the last three games and gain some momentum,” said Merrick.
“Momentum is vital and playing a style of football we want to play during the finals is very important. – you can’t draw or lose in the finals, because otherwise you’re out.
“It (Adelaide) was our first lost in seven games, it was certainly a tough one and there was no one more disappointed with the performance than the boys in that dressing room.
“I’m excited to have two home games coming up and a confirmed semi-final at McDonald Jones Stadium.”
Ben Kantarovski is set for a shift into the backline, with Merrick hinting the versatile defensive midfielder may partner Nikolai Topor-Stanley in central defence.
Jason Hoffman will miss the game due to suspension and will be replaced by Ivan Vujica, while Wayne Brown also unavailable due to a slight calf strain.
By the numbers:
- The Newcastle Jets have won six of their last seven games at McDonald Jones Stadium, keeping four clean sheets in that time.
- The Jets have made 68 passes into the final third per game this season, six more than any other team in the competition.
- Only Sydney FC (10) have kept more clean sheets than either Newcastle (7) or City (7) the campaign.
- Nikolai Topor-Stanley has made 121clearances this campaign, only Alex Wilkinson (145) has made more.
Sunday 1 April 2018
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM (local) (5:00 PM AEST)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #NEWvMCY
To purchase tickets visit http://bit.ly/NEWvCity
Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimi PETRATOS, 8.Ronald VARGAS, 9.Roy O'DONOVAN, 11.Patricio RODRIGUEZ, 12.Mario SHABOW, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 16.Nick COWBURN, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 24.Joseph CHAMPNESS, 27.Riley MCGREE, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Dimi PETRATOS (return from national duty) 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (return from suspension), 12.Mario SHABOW (promoted), 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (promoted)
Outs: 3.Jason HOFFMAN (suspension – 1 week), 10.Wayne BROWN (calf – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (knee – 6 weeks)
Melbourne City FC squad: 1.Dean BOUZANIS (gk), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 4. Harrison DELBRIDGE, 5.Bart SCHENKEVELD, 7. Nick FITZGERALD, 8.Oliver BOZANIC, 10.Dario VIDOSIC, 11.Bruce Kamau, 13. Stefan MAUK, 14.Daniel ARZANI, 15.Denis GENREAU, 18. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 22. Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI, 26. Luke BRATTAN, 27. Marcin BUDZINSKI, 37.Nathaniel ATKINSON
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 11.Bruce Kamau (promoted), 15.Denis GENREAU (promoted)
Unavailable: 6.Osama MALIK (quad)