The Newcastle Jets will kick-off the Christmas weekend with a massive Hyundai A-League clash with the Western Sydney Wanderers at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The fixture is the first of the Summer Football Festival, which sees children under 16 gain free entry to the Jets next four home games when attending with a paying adult.
The two teams last faced off in Round 4 at the same ground, with the result finishing in a 1 – 1 draw.
The Jets will be looking to continue their strong home form, whilst keeping in touch with league leaders, Sydney FC – breaking away from the rest of the competition in second place.
Both the Jets and the Wanderers enter the clash off the back of wins in Round 11, with the home side taking all the three points in dramatic fashion against Adelaide United last weekend.
Daniel Georgievski and Nick Cowburn remain unavailable for the clash, despite both pushing strongly for a return from injury.
Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick said that he didn’t plan on taking any unnecessary risks with his recovering players.
“Daniel and Nick were both very close, Nick trained strongly with the group for the majority of the session today, but we’ll give them both another week just to be sure,” said Merrick.
“The Wanderers have got a very good team on paper, they’re coming off the back of a good win (against Mariners) and they’ll be buoyed by that.
“Josep is a good coach, he did a good job in Adelaide and I expect the Wanderers to be a ball-playing, attacking side, which I’ve said many times really suits us and the way we want to play.”
Merrick said that his side had learned some lessons from their previous encounter with the Wanderers.
“We’ve got to take the game up to them, I think last time we sat back a little in the first half and they punished us early,” added Merrick.
“I think we’ve shown that when we take the game to teams and play in their half that we’re a very tough proposition – the challenge is doing that from the opening whistle to the 90th minute.”
By the numbers:
- Newcastle Jets come into this fixture on the back of a two-game winning streak (each by a margin of 2-1), the last time they won more in succession was a three-game stretch in November 2013.
- Newcastle Jets have scored six goals after the 75th minute this campaign, more than any other team, while the Wanderers remains the only team yet to score in that interval.
- With 25 goals during the 2017/18 season, the Newcastle Jets are averaging 2.27 goals per game with 50.8% of their shots on target.
Friday 22 December, 2017
Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
Referee: Kris Griffith-Jones
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: myfootballnation.com (SWR 999). ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live
Join the conversation on Twitter using the hash-tag #NEWvWSW
Newcastle Jets: 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 10.Wayne BROWN, 12.Mario SHABOW, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Glenn MOSS, 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 24.Joe CHAMPNESS, 30.Ivan NECEVSKI, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
*one to be omitted*
Ins: 19.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted), 12.Mario SHABOW (promoted)
Unavailable: 1.Jack DUNCAN (foot – 3 weeks), 8.Ronald VARGAS (ankle – indefinite), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (groin – 12 weeks), 16.Nick COWBURN (knee – 1 week), 17. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (knee – 1 week)
Western Sydney Wanderers FC: 3.Jack CLISBY, 5.Brendan HAMILL, 7. Steve LUSTICA, 8.Roly BONEVACIA, 9.Oriol RIERA, 10.Álvaro CEJUDO, 11.Brendon SANTALAB, 14.Jumpei KUSUKAMI, 15.Kearyn BACCUS, 18.Robbie CORNTHWAITE, 19.Mark BRIDGE, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 22.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 24.Raúl LLORENTE, 25.Chris HERD, 30.John HALL (gk), 33.Michael THWAITE, 42.Keanu BACCUS
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 5.Brendan HAMILL (promoted), 7. Steve LUSTICA (promoted), 25.Chris HERD (promoted)
Outs: 4.Josh RISDON (suspended – 1 match)
Unavailable: 1.Jerrad TYSON (gk) (shoulder)