There are some familiar faces for the Jets in the Wanderers side, but friendship will count for little when they square off at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday
|By KIERAN JONES
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS
Polenz, T-Stanley, Beauchamp, D'Apuzzo
Ono, Poljak, Mooy
Hersi, Gibbs, Bridge
Neville, Mitchell, Tiago, Ritter
Zadkovich, Wheelhouse, Goodwin
Brown, Heskey, Griffiths
The Western Sydney and Newcastle Jets face off at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday, with more than a few familiar faces among the Wanderers squad for the visitors.
The Wanderers are quickly becoming known for their miserly defence, and coach Tony Popovic - himself a former Socceroos defender - has done a good job cohesively organising the A-League's newest team.
Popovic has almost established a team within a team, with six of his players spending time at Newcastle in their careers before arriving at the Wanderers.
Ante Covic, Adam D'Apuzzo, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Labinot Haliti, Tarek Elrich and Mark Bridge have all played for Newcastle and will face their former teammates on Saturday.
Mark Bridge has been the only goalscorer for the Wanderers, and Jets manager Gary van Egmond will need to find a way to shut him down.
The Wanderers are lucky to have star Japanese import Shinji Ono available in Week 6 after only being handed a yellow card for his horrid challenge on Melbourne Heart's Jason Hoffman in last Friday's 2-1.
Ono has not been as influential so far this season as fellow import Emile Heskey, but the good form of Aaron Mooy in midfield has taken plenty of pressure off the Japanese star.
The Wanderers could field an unchanged side for the match, though Croatian Dino Kresinger - Western Sydney's first-choice striker early in the season - is back in the squad.
Newcastle are still without five players due to Australia youth duty, including forward Adam Taggart and defensive utility Josh Brillante. Ben Kantarovski also misses due to a knee complaint.
But Dominic Ritter should return and may make the starting XI, potentially allowing the Jets to move Craig Goodwin further afield onto the left wing.
The Jets faltered against Perth last Saturday, and are relying heavily on English marksman Heskey to score their goals.
Heskey was quiet last week and may find it hard to be the lone striker against arguably the most in-form central defensive pairing in the league - Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Michael Beauchamp.
If the Wanderers can find a way to shut down the delivery of wide balls from Goodwin and James Virgili, they will have a big advantage.
Both sides have a goal difference of zero, but expect a result out of this one if Bridge continues to score and the Jets' defence falters.