The Newcastle Jets crave a finals place, while the visiting Western Sydney Wanderers covet a Premiers' Plate. Who will get what they want at Hunter Stadium?
|By GOAL AUSTRALIA
Brillante, Chapman, Ritter, Goodwin
Zadkovich, Caravella, BrownTaggart, Heskey, Bridges
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Polenz, T-Stanley, Beauchamp, D'Apuzzo, Cole, Poljak, Trifiro
Hersi, Haliti, Bridge
Western Sydney Wanderers will be aiming to finally lay their hands on the Premiers' Plate when they travel to Hunter Stadium to face the Newcastle Jets on Friday.
The A-League leaders spurned the chance to secure the coveted trophy in their own backyard against Sydney FC last Saturday but should they avoid defeat against the Jets, Tony Popovic's men will clinch it.
However, the Wanderers come into this fixture on the back of a worrying injury list, along with the suspension of central defender Iacopo La Rocca.
The Italian has been banned for the rest of the campaign following a wild elbow on Sydney's Terry Antonis in an explosive derby clash.
Japanese playmaker Shinji Oni and Aaron Mooy have been included in the squad although the duo are struggling with groin and knee injuries respectively.
On a more positive front, captain Michael Beauchamp looks likely to shake off a troublesome quad injury and take his place in the Wanderers' XI.
The Wanderers' bid for the Premiers' Plate will also coincide with the return of 'lucky charm' winger Youssouf Hersi.
The Ethiopian-born player is currently embarking on a remarkable winning streak of 15 consecutive matches.
It should come as no surprise that the Wanderers failed to earn a win against Sydney FC, after Hersi was forced to miss the tie through suspension.
Nevertheless, the Jets fans will recall with glee that the last time Hersi was on the losing side, it came against their team back in Week 6.
Gary van Egmond's Newcastle side are languishing in eighth spot and desperately need other results to work in their favour to remain in the hunt for a top-six finish.
Not only will the Jets have to end the Wanderers' 11-week unbeaten run, they also have to face opponents who are determined to claim the point needed to win the Premiers' Plate.
But Newcastle will be raring to get back onto the pitch after making up their game in hand last week and will be gunning for their first win in four matches.
Marquee signing Emile Heskey has been included in the squad after missing the last three matches with a calf problem while key men Ruben Zadkovich, Adam Taggart and Zenon Caravella have all been passed fit for Friday's clash.
Both sides have claimed victories over each other this season, with the Wanderers beating the Jets 2-1 in their last meeting thanks to goals from Hersi and Mark Bridge.