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|14'||A. L. Fondre|
It’s bottom of the table versus the ladder leaders when the Newcastle Jets host Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium tonight. Join The Roar for live scores from 7:30pm (AEDT).
The Jets are in a rut. They’ve lost four of their last five, and that meagre run cost Ernie Merrick his job this week.
The club’s W-League coach, Craig Deans, has been made interim boss of the A-League side, and he could hardly have been given a tougher task for his first match in charge.
Sydney FC are in formidable form, having not tasted defeat since their derby loss in October. With ten wins and a draw from their other eleven matches this season, they’ve opened up a nine-point gap atop the ladder already.
Star man Milos Ninkovic comes back into the Sky Blues’ side for this match after sitting out last week’s win over Adelaide. Luke Brattan, however, is out through suspension, heaping more pressure on the much-improved Paulo Retre, who enjoyed a stellar outing against the Reds.
Rhyan Grant still has a match on the sidelines to serve thanks to his red card and suspension a couple of weeks ago, while Brandon O’Neill is out again with a knee injury – although the defensive midfielder is thought to be on his way out of the club, with a transfer to either Pohang Steelers or a Danish club in the works.
Newcastle have no omissions from the side which lost to Melbourne last round and welcome back Abdiel Arroyo from injury. Nigel Boogard is still roughly a month from returning, while Wes Hoolahan is even further.
A change of coach can often bring about a change in fortune. But even with a fresh voice calling the shots, against the class of Sydney FC, Newcastle look to be too far outmatched even though their opponents are missing some key midfield and defensive pieces.
The Jets’ leaky defence, which has conceded at least four goals in three of their last four outings, will be particularly vulnerable against the likes of Ninkovic, Adam le Fondre and Kosta Barborouses.
Join The Roar for live scores as Newcastle take on Sydney FC, and leave a comment below with your thoughts on the match.
Kick-off: 7:30pm (AEDT)
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel, MyFootballLive app
Odds: Sydney $1.83, Newcastle $4.20, draw $3.75
Newcastle Jets squad
1. Glen Moss (gk), 2. Bobby Burns, 3. Jason Hoffman, 5. Ben Kantarovski, 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 9. Abdiel Arroyo, 10. Dimi Petratos, 11. Nick Fitzgerald, 14. Kaine Sheppard, 16. Matt Millar, 18. Johnny Koutroumbis, 19. Kosta Petratos, 20. Lewis Italiano (gk), 22. Lachlan Jackson, 23. Matt Ridenton, 25. Jack Simmons, 28. Pat Langlois, 31. Maki Petratos, 32. Angus Thurgate, 44. Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Sydney FC squad
1. Andrew Redmayne (gk), 2. Patrick Flottmann, 4. Alex Wilkinson (c), 5. Alex Baumjohann, 6. Ryan Mcgowan, 7. Michael Zullo, 8. Paulo Retre, 9. Adam Le Fondre, 10. Milos Ninkovic, 11. Kosta Barbarouses, 16. Joel King, 17. Anthony Caceres, 21. Harry Van Der Saag, 24. Marco Tilio, 25. Ryan Teague, 27. Jordi Swibel, 28. Calem Nieuwenhof, 30. Adam Pavlesic (gk)