Both sides need points desperately, so this match looms as a real finals six-pointer. Can Heart continue their winning feeling, or will the Jets belatedly rediscover theirs?
|By GOAL AUSTRALIA
Regan, Chapman, Mitchell, Gallaway
Taggart, Zadkovich, Caravella, Griffiths
Coyne, Gerhardt, Colosimo, WalkerKalmar, Fred, Garcia, Thompson
The visitors' coach John Aloisi has a much healthier list to choose from for the trip north, with new Dutch signing Marcel Meeuwis straight into the squad.
Formerly of Feyenoord and Borussia Monchengladbach, Meeuwis has been signed to fill the void left by Vince Grella's retirement. His inclusion comes alongside that of central defender Simon Colosimo and captain and midfielder Fred.
It could mean at least two changes for Heart, even despite their solid 2-0 win over Perth Glory last Saturday.
Jets head coach Gary van Egmond, meanwhile, needs to turn his side's form around if they are to challenge the likes of Heart and Sydney FC, who sit fifth and sixth in the finals positions.
Newcastle have not won in four matches. The solution may be to strengthen the defence, with Dominik Ritter [hamstring] and Taylor Regan [calf] both possible starters after stints out with injury, having played in the Jets' NYL team last week.
And while van Egmond has been happy to trust in youth this season, it seems he will turn to experience for the visit of Heart, having confirmed that veteran English duo Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges will lead the line.Despite not having won in four games, however, Newcastle have picked up six points in their past five matches.
The Jets defeated Brisbane Roar 1-0 on January 12 before a run of three draws was broken last Saturday with a loss to Western Sydney Wanderers.
In that run, however, Newcastle have scored four of their five goals in the second half.
What does Van Egmond have to do to get his team firing before half-time? If the Jets can find a way to lead at the break, it could be tough for Heart to fight back.
Heart moved into the top six courtesy of their home victory over Perth and, with the return of striker Eli Babalj, who scored against the Glory, Aloisi's team looks a decent shot at making the finals.
But can the team from Melbourne's red half find a way to win outside Victoria?
Heart have won just one away match this season, and that was the opening round derby at Etihad Stadium.
They have only picked up one point outside Victoria; a 0-0 draw against Sydney FC.
With four away games in the last seven rounds, Heart need to improve on the road to ensure they make the finals.