The Jets fly to Adelaide off the back of a hard-fought win over the Phoenix, facing a Reds outfit desperate to cement a position in the Final Series as the regular season comes to a close.
It’s the second week on the road for Ernie Merrick’s side, as they look to continue an undefeated run that stretches back to Round 17.
The Jets completed a clean sweep over the Roar last month, and will be looking to make it three from three against United.
The big omission for this week’s clash comes in the way of Dimi Petratos, who is currently in camp with Socceroos and will return to Australia before the club’s Easter Sunday fixture with Melbourne City.
Roy O’Donovan is serving the final week of a suspension and Nigel Boogaard continues to recover from a knee injury.
Wayne Brown returns from a bout of sickness that forced his last-minute withdrawal from last week’s travelling squad, with Ivan Vujica also returning.
Ronald Vargas continues to train strongly and after a 30-minute stint last week, is in the fold for a starting berth.
Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick said that he wouldn’t make a call on the Venezuelan international until the last minute.
“The temptation is to throw him on at the start and let him decide when he has had enough,” said Merrick.
“I need to weigh up whether he will have the best possible effect starting or coming off the bench, I’m leaning towards starting him because he is up to the pace of the game.”
Merrick said his side ‘got lucky’ last weekend and was expecting an improved performance against a determined Adelaide outfit.
“We have to learn a lesson, we got out of jail and got three points, but we can learn a lot from that game,” added Merrick.
“When you play a game like that, it’s probably come at an ideal time so you can learn a lesson from it, at all three levels, whether it be the back line, the midfield or the strikers.
“It’s an ideal test to play away from home against Adelaide, a team who are desperate to stay in the six and climb as high as possible.”
Angus Thurgate retains his spot in the squad after going agonisingly close to a maiden Hyundai A-League goal last week, and it’s expected that young gun, Joe Champness will continue to lead the line in attack.
Jason Hoffman will also notch his 100th appearance for the club, with the versatile defender-turned-attacker in a rich vein of form after another goal last week against the Phoenix.
By the numbers:
- Newcastle have won three of their last four games against Adelaide, including each of their last two; each of their three wins in that time have come by an exact margin of 2-1.
- Newcastle have won their last three games on the bounce, the last time they won more in succession was a four-game streak in December 2009.
- Newcastle Jets have had the most shots on target (134) of any team this campaign.
- Jason Hoffman is set to play his 100th game for the Newcastle Jets, and his 23rd overall against Adelaide United; he will have faced no team more often after this outing.
Friday 23 March 2018
Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Kick-Off: 7:20 PM (Local) (7:50 PM AEDT)
Referee: Kurt Ams
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 4 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: myfootballnation.com (Super Radio Network). ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live.
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #ADLvNEW
Newcastle Jets: 1.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 8.Ronald VARGAS, 10.Wayne BROWN, 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: 10.Wayne BROWN (promoted), 13.Ivan VUJICA (promoted), 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS (promoted)
Outs: 7.Dimitri PETRATOS (national duty)
Unavailable: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (knee – 7 weeks), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (suspension)
Adelaide United squad: Adelaide United squad: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 2.Michael MARRONE, 5.Taylor REGAN, 6.Vince LIA, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.ISAÍAS (C), 11.Johan ABSALONSEN, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Ersan GÜLÜM, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 29.Ryan STRAIN, 37.Daniel ADLUNG, 77.Džengis ČAVUŠEVIĆ
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 6.Vince LIA (promoted), 21.Tarek ELRICH (promoted)
Unavailable: 9.Baba DIAWARA (continues recovery)