Scott Miller’s preliminary squad for Sunday’s crucial F3 Derby against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford has been bolstered by the availability of two experienced Hyundai A-League players.
Croatian midfield general Mateo Poljak and long-serving home-grown Jet Ben Kantarovski both served one-match suspensions last round when Newcastle defeated Wellington Phoenix 3-2 at Hunter Stadium.
However the duo are once again available to be picked for Sunday’s matchday squad, undoubtedly providing Miller with a welcome selection headache.
Newcastle Jets Squad vs. Central Coast Mariners: 1. Mark Birighitti (Gk), 2. Daniel Mullen, 3. Jason Hoffman, 4. Nigel Boogaard (C), 5. Ben Kantarovski, 6. Cameron Watson, 7. Enver Alivodic, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Milos Trifunovic, 10. Leonardo, 14. Mitch Cooper, 16. Steven Ugarkovic, 17. Radovan Pavicevic, 19. Morten Nordstrand, 20. Ben Kennedy (Gk), 22. Lachlan Jackson, 24. Nick Cowburn, 28. Ryan Kitto **two to be omitted**
Ins: 5. Ben Kantarovski (returns from suspension), 8. Mateo Poljak (returns from suspension)
Unavailable: 11. Labinot Haliti (knee – season)
Poljak has played 19 of the Jets’ 20 matches during Hyundai A-League season 11, while Kantarovski has featured 15 times throughout the campaign.
Should he take to the field on Sunday, Kantarovski will move to second position on the club’s all-time Hyundai A-League appearance list with 122 games. Adelaide United’s Tarek Elrich holds the record with 134 appearances in the league for the club.
Each of the 16 players who were part of the matchday squad for last round’s win over Wellington have been retained in Miller’s preliminary squad for Sunday’s Derby.
One player the Mariners will certainly be wary of is the Jets’ Danish dynamo, Morten Nordstrand. Nordstrand became the 62nd player to score for the club when he bent a superb strike beyond Phoenix custodian Glen Moss in round 20.
Other interesting player stats for this weekend’s match involve Serbian midfielder Enver Alivodic and goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. Indeed, Alivodic is set for his 30th consecutive appearance for the club should he take to the field against the yellow and navy, while Birighitti is the only Newcastle ‘keeper in history to have kept a clean sheet in Gosford.
Central Coast Mariners vs. Newcastle Jets – Hyundai A-League 2015/16 round 21
When: Sunday 28 February 2016
Where: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Tickets: Please click here to purchase away bay match tickets
Transport: Join the Squadron by catching the train south to Gosford. Squadron will be departing Hamilton (12:40pm), Broadmeadow (12:43pm), Cardiff (12:50pm), Fassifern (1:01pm), arriving into Gosford at 1:50pm
Pre-Match: Join likeminded Jets fans at the Gosford Hotel on Mann Street from 2:00pm onwards
Pre-Match March: March to the Central Coast Stadium from Gosford Hotel at 4:15pm
Social Media: Join the conversation using #F3Derby