Victory, with star man Besart Berisha back and available for selection, head to scenic Hunter to face a struggling Jets in their first home game of the season on the newly re-laid home ground surface. Should be an easy three points for the visitors, right?
Saturday, 8 November 2014
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 5pm (Local), (5pm AEDST)
Newcastle Jets 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 3.Taylor REGAN, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 12.Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTANO, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 17.James VIRGILI, 18.Allan WELSH, 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK), 21.Sam GALLAWAY, 23.David CARNEY
***two to be omitted***
Ins 2.Scott NEVILLE (returns from being rested), 10.Marcos FLORES (returns from being rested)
Unavailable 14.Billy CELESKI (groin – 1-2 weeks), 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season), 22.Jonny STEELE (leave of absence).
Melbourne Victory 1.Nathan COE (GK), 5.Mark MILLIGAN (c) 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Gui FINKLER, 8.Besart BERISHA, 9.Kosta BARBAROUSES, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 11.Connor PAIN, 13.Andrew NABBOUT, 14.Fahid BEN KHALFALLAH, 15. Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, 16.Rashid MAHAZI, 18.Dylan MURNANE, 20.Lawrence THOMAS (GK), 21.Carl VALERI, 22.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 23. Adrian LEIJER, 24.Scott GALLOWAY
***two to be omitted***
Ins 8. Besart BERISHA (returns from injury) 15.Daniel GEORGIEVSKI (returns from suspension), 23.Adrian LEIJER (returns from suspension)
Outs 26. Jordan BROWN (not selected)
Unavailable 2.Jason GERIA (ankle – 1 week), 4.Nick ANSELL (foot – 2-3 weeks), 17. Matthieu DELPIERRE (hamstring – 1 week)
TV – Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 4HD & FOX SPORTS 4 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Delayed on Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio – 774 ABC Melbourne, Local Radio VIC, 936 ABC Hobart and ABC Northern Tasmania, 1233 ABC Newcastle Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online/A-League Live Mobile phone app
Referee Strebre Delovski
Assistant Referee 1 Leigh Pigram
Assistant Referee 2 James Tesoriero
Fourth Official Chris Young
Newcastle’s first home match of the campaign can’t come soon enough after a difficult opening four rounds on the road due to the pitch at Hunter Stadium being re-laid.
And they will need the home fans to get right behind them if they are to get over the rampant Victory and get their season up and running. The visitors are in a rich vein of form at the moment, equalling their best start to a season since they last won the title in 2008/09 after Monday night’s 2-0 win over Phoenix.
And their recent record against the Jets is promising also, having lost just one of their last five meetings between the two sides.
The Jets have had a distraction in the lead-up to this match with Irish import Jonny Steele given indefinite leave from the club to deal with personal issues.
Midfielder Billy Celeski and defender Adrian Madaschi are also still absent but getting closer to being available. Defender Scott Neville and playmaker Marcos Flores return to the squad after missing the trip to Perth last weekend.
There are a couple of big ins for the Victory with Besart Berisha (groin) overcoming an injury while defenders Daniel Georgievski and Adrian Leijer have both served their one-game bans.
The trio are all likely to come straight back into the starting side after missing the win over Wellington, although defender Matthieu Del Pierre is still sidelined due to a hamstring strain.
OPTA DATA STATS
Newcastle Jets have gone six home games without defeat to Victory, last losing to them in October 2009 (W3 D3).
Besart Berisha has netted four times in his first three games at Victory. The Albanian has scored with all four of his efforts on goal this season.
The Jets have collected 11 yellows so far this season, a league-high tally.
ROUTE TO GOAL
The worrying factor for the Jets is the visitors haven’t relied on one or two players to provide their goals. Victory has had seven different goal-scorers over the first month – the most of any side in the competition.
Jets fullbacks Scott Neville and David Carney will be key to Newcastle’s hopes, with Victory liking to use the pace of Kosta Barbarouses, Archie Thompson and Fahid Ben Khalfallah down the flanks to get in behind the defence.
WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
The Hunter Stadium groundsman. Upgrades and resurfacing work at Hunter Stadium forced the Jets to play the first month of the competition on the road and it will be interesting to see just how good the quality of the surface is, especially with the turf only being laid earlier this week.
While there’s no doubt improvements needed to be made – especially with the Asian Cup only a couple of months away – hopefully it hasn’t come too late to affect the quality of football this weekend.