Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory will clash in Round 2 of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League season at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory will clash in Round 2 of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League season at Hunter Stadium on Sunday October 20 at 3:00pm AEDT.
Head-to-head: Played: 28, Wins: Jets 6, Glory 16, Draws: 6
Previous encounter: Jets 1-2 Glory, March 8 2013
Past five matches [including pre-season]: Jets: LWWWW Glory: LWWWD
The Game: Both teams suffered defeats in the opening round of the season, but the Jets have more to make amends for in their first outing in front of their home fans during the 2013/14 season. Gary van Egmond's team is packed full of talented youngsters who will be looking to stand up and be counted for after last week's loss to Sydney FC. Glory meanwhile were on the wrong end of a 3-1 loss away to Adelaide, and unable to take advantage of the fact their hosts finished the game with nine men. It's early days yet through, meaning both Van Egmond and Alistair Edwards will be confident of an improved showing this weekend.
The big issue: Jets - Attacking midfielder Michael Bridges returns for the Jets after missing last week's season opener with a groin injury. The former Leeds United man's experience and nous could give the Jets the much needed attacking spark that was missing against the Sky Blues. Loan signing Nathan Burns is likely to move out wide to accommodate Bridges in the number 10 role.
Glory - Edwards will want his team to be tighter at the back and sharper up front. Young striker Jamie Maclaren, likely to start again in place of the injured Shane Smeltz, missed some good chances at Coopers Stadium, while experimental centre-back duo of Brandon O'Neill and Steve Pantelidis must do better if they are to prevent an instant return for Michael Thwaite when the defender regains full fitness. He is rated a 50-50 chance for this week's game.
The game breaker: Ryo Nagai - Perth's on-loan Japanese forward threatened at times without dominating against Adelaide, although did get on the score sheet for the Glory. Much is expected of a talented player who was criminally neglected by Ian Ferguson but has been an impressive regular under Edwards. Watch out for him cutting in from the right flank and worrying the Jets' backline.