It’s a top-of-the-table clash for the Newcastle Jets, as they welcome in the New Year with a fixture against the reigning Champions, Sydney FC at Allianz Stadium.
The second-place Jets will be looking to solidify their position at the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder – building a further gap between themselves and the chasing pack, as they sit seven points clear of third position.
They will also be looking to close the gap between themselves and the first-placed Sky Blues, fresh off a 6 – 0 drubbing of Perth Glory.
Jets’ boss, Ernie Merrick said that his side would travel down the M1 full of confidence after a blistering start to the 2017/18 season.
“At the moment we’re struggling with a few key injuries, but we head to Sydney knowing the type of football we’re capable of,” said Merrick.
Last time the two sides faced the Jets’ suffered a 2 – 1 loss in awful conditions at the same ground.
“We probably started a little bit defensively (in Round 6), but we came out and played our brand of football in the second half and put them under some pressure, so there’s plenty we can take from that performance.
““I think it’s a good thing to play another top side after playing Victory, you can learn a lot from a game like that and it’s really good to put it into practice against a tough opposition.
“Sydney will be tough at home – we’re under no illusions of that – but we won’t be intimated.”
The Jets will lose skipper, Nigel Boogaard to concussion for the clash, while midfielder Ben Kantarovski remains in serious doubt.
They join Vargas, O’Donovan and Duncan on the sidelines in what is becoming a busy casualty ward in the Hunter.
Young defender, Ivan Vujica is also suspended after incurring his fifth yellow card for the season against Victory.
“We’re certainly understrength with a number of senior players unavailable,” added Merrick.
“It’s not ideal, but what better experience for a young player than to take on a side of Sydney’s quality.”
Daniel Georgievski will return from injury, while Foxtel National League Youth star, Angus Thurgate is in the mix for a spot on the bench in what would be his senior debut.
By the numbers:
- Between them, Sydney FC (33) and Newcastle Jets (30) have scored more than a third of all total goals scored so far this season (183), no other side has reached 20 goals yet.
- 3.8% of all Jets’ touches this season have come in the opposition box, the highest percentage of any team in the competition.
- Dimitri Petratos has created 43 scoring chances this season, more than any other player in the competition.
Wednesday, 3 January 2018
Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets
Allianz Stadium, Sydney
Kick-Off: 7:50 PM (AEDT)
Referee: Jarred Gillett
TV Broadcast: Live coverage on FOX SPORTS 501 from 7.20pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: myfootballnation.com (SWR99.9). ABC News on Radio, Grandstand Digital, Online & via the ABC Listen App – A-League Live.
Join the conversation: #SYDvNEW
Newcastle Jets: 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 10.Wayne BROWN, 12.Mario SHABOW, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 19.Kosta PETRATOS, 20.Glenn MOSS (gk), 22.Lachlan JACKSON, 23.Devante CLUT, 24.Joe CHAMPNESS, 30.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c)
**one to be omitted**
Ins: 17.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (returns from injury), 19.Kosta PETRATOS (promoted), 23.Devante CLUT (promoted), 32.Angus THURGATE (promoted)
Outs: 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (concussion – 1 week), 13.Ivan VUJICA (suspended – 1 week), 16.Nick COWBURN (international duty)
Unavailable: 1.Jack DUNCAN (foot – 2 weeks), 8.Ronald VARGAS (ankle – indefinite), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN (groin – 9 weeks)
Sydney FC: 1.Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk), 4.Alex WILKINSON, 5.Jordy BUIJS, 6.Josh BRILLANTE, 7.Michael ZULLO, 8.Paulo RETRE, 9.BOBÔ, 10.Milos NINKOVIC, 11.Adrian MIERZEJEWSKI, 13.Brandon O’NEILL, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Anthony KALIK, 17.David CARNEY, 18.Matt SIMON, 21.Charles LOKOLINGOY, 22.Seb RYALL, 26.Luke WILKSHIRE, 30.Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (Gk)
**two to be omitted**
Ins: 16.Anthony KALIK (promoted), 18.Matt SIMON (returns from injury)
Unavailable: 23.Rhyan GRANT (knee – indefinite)