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Perth Glory welcome Newcastle Jets to HBF Park in Round 11 of the Hyundai A-League. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:30pm (AEDT).
Saturday night kicks off with a match that looks like a stocking filler, but could turn out to be surprisingly good value.
Tis the season of goodwill and the Newcastle Jets have been generously giving away points this month. Defeat to Adelaide was compounded last week with a 4-0 home drubbing at the hands of Melbourne City.
In contrast Perth Glory have been miserly of late, recording back-to-back wins and clean sheets. The reigning premiers are still a way behind ladder-leaders Sydney FC, but have got themselves right back in the top-six mix.
While results have improved, the Glory still have something to prove in games like this and coach Tony Popovic will see this as a must win.
With Newcastle currently occupying tenth place, just a point above bottom team Central Coast Mariners, now would be the perfect time to pick up their first away win of the season.
Christmas miracles can happen, but the history books do not make happy reading for Newcastle fans in this fixture – Perth have won 13 of the last 15 ties at this venue.
Jets boss Ernie Merrick is set to make changes for this match and will expect a reaction from his squad to ensure their campaign doesn’t peter out before it’s really begun. Although next week’s home game against Brisbane is arguably far more important.
Merrick has decided not to risk the recovery of experienced defender Nigel Boogaard for the trip west. However, Bobby Burns, Pat Langlois, and Matt Ridenton are all in contention for a starting place. Jack Simmons could also feature after being promoted to the 18-man squad.
Perth Glory will once again be without Osama Malik, who is still absent with a hamstring issue. Dino Djulbic has an ankle injury and will be out for a further two weeks at least. Chris Harold is available and has been promoted to the match-day squad.
The Glory’s win at Melbourne a few weeks back was well-earned and very impressive, especially because they had been on a poor run of results. That victory brought their season to life, and they followed it up with a comfortable home win last time out.
Last Sunday, Melbourne City exposed Newcastle’s defensive flaws with their fast counter attacks. The Jets need to get back to basics and become a tough team to beat again. Their season is still very much alive, but they must find some consistency. The return of Wes Hoolahan can’t come quickly enough.
Both teams have a different style of play, but it should make for a decent battle.
Perth Glory 2, Newcastle Jets 1.
Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:30pm (AEDT).
Where: HBF Park
When: 7:30pm (AEDT)
TV: Fox Sports 505
Online: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports
Odds: Glory $1.35, Jets $5, draw $4.20
1. Tando Velaphi (GK), 2. Alex Grant, 3. Jacob Tratt, 4. Gregory Wuthrich, 5. Ivan Franjic, 7. Joel Chianese, 8. James Meredith, 9. Bruno Fornaroli, 12. Kim Soo-Beom, 14. Chris Harold, 16. Tomislav Mrcela, 17. Diego Castro (C), 18. Nicholas D’Agostino, 19. Chris Ikonomidis, 20. Jake Brimmer, 27. Juande, 28. Gabriel Popovic, 33. Liam Reddy (GK), 88. Neil Kilkenny (two or three to be omitted)
1. Glen Moss (GK), 2. Bobby Burns, 3. Jason Hoffman, 5. Ben Kantarovski, 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 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, 32. Angus Thurgate, 44. Nikolai Topor-Stanley (one or two to be omitted)