A-League preview: Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC
Joel Griffiths will miss a return to his former club, but it is how his Sydney FC side fares against the Newcastle Jets in the battle for points that is the issue here
Neville, Chapman, Regan, Mitchell
Brillante, Zadkovich, Brown
Griffiths, Heskey, Goodwin
McClenahan, Ryall, Griffiths, Grant
Antonis, Culina, McFlynn, Abbas
Del Piero, Powell
It is good for both teams, then, that they come into this match in reasonable form.
The Newcastle Jets are unbeaten in four matches, with last Sunday's draw away to Wellington seeing them move up to fifth position.
Sydney FC, meanwhile, were convincingly beaten by Melbourne Victory 3-1 on Australia Day, but it was their first defeat in four games and they remain just one point outside the top six.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond will be forced into at least two changes, with left-back Sam Gallaway suspended for his red card against the Phoenix and Jobe Wheelhouse - club captain - released by mutual consent.
Ruben Zadkovich is available again after serving a one-game ban and will take Wheelhouse's spot, with Josh Mitchell likely to return to defence in place of Gallaway.
There are a few more problems at Sydney FC, with coach Frank Farina needing to make at least three changes to his starting side.
Defenders Tiago Calvano and Fabio [both suspended] will miss the trip up the F3, while veteran midfielder Brett Emerton [back/hamstring[ is out through injury.
Adam Griffiths and Trent McClenahan are the two players expected to come into the Sky Blues' defence, while Blake Powell or Terry Antonis will battle it out for Emerton's spot.
Panamanian flyer Yairo Yau is unavailable due to international duty, but the biggest blow is likely the three-match suspension handed to former Jets favourite Joel Griffiths for abusive language towards an official in the match against Victory.
The Jets have won both previous encounters this season, including a 2-1 victory at Hunter Stadium in December.
They perhaps deserve to start slight favourites having tightened up their defence in recent weeks, conceding just once in their last four games.
But with Alessandro Del Piero always dangerous, the hosts' back four is sure to be tested in this one.
The Sky Blues have a strong record on the Hunter, having lost just three times at the venue in 12 matches.
And with so much at stake for both sides, it is sure to be a tight and tense affair.
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Top 3 Predictions
Newcastle Jets 0-3 Sydney FC
- 20 %
Newcastle Jets 0-2 Sydney FC
- 13.33 %
Newcastle Jets 1-3 Sydney FC
- 13.33 %
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||22/02/2014||Newcastle Jets 0 - Sydney FC 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||30/11/2013||Sydney FC 2 - Newcastle Jets 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||11/10/2013||Sydney FC 2 - Newcastle Jets 0|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||02/02/2013||Newcastle Jets 2 - Sydney FC 2|
|Australia - A-League (AUS1)||22/12/2012||Newcastle Jets 2 - Sydney FC 1|
|11/04/2014||Newcastle Jets 2 - Adelaide United 0||AUS1|
|05/04/2014||Newcastle Jets 2 - Melbourne Victory 2||AUS1|
|30/03/2014||Perth Glory 2 - Newcastle Jets 1||AUS1|
|22/03/2014||Newcastle Jets 5 - Wellington Phoenix 0||AUS1|
|15/03/2014||Central Coast Mariners 3 - Newcastle Jets 1||AUS1|
|-||Alessandro Del Piero||Striker|