A-League preview: Melbourne Heart v Newcastle Jets

The Jets suffered a hit and run at home against the Phoenix last Sunday, while the Heart need their own return to form after falling to Adelaide United
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Marrone, Gerhardt, Colosimo, Behich
Fred, Garcia, Thompson
Garuccio, Macallister, Tadic


Neville, Calvano, Mitchell, Ritter
Zadkovich, Wheelhouse, Goodwin
Brown, Heskey, Griffiths

Both teams head into the clash in search of improvement following frustrating losses last time out in the A-League.

Heart went down to league leaders Adelaide United 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium, while the Jets were stunned 3-0 by Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium.

Heart, who made an ideal start to the season with a win over local rivals Melbourne Victory, are looking to find form after a painful reality check.

John Aloisi's men have lost four of their past five games and are ninth on the ladder, just one point above bottom-placed Sydney FC.

Newcastle could have climbed to second with a win over Wellington, but instead remain third and four points behind United.

The Jets were hot favourites to account for Phoenix at home, but were convincingly outplayed as a Jeremy Brockie brace and Paul Ifill penalty handed the visitors an unlikely victory.

Heart are set to welcome back captain Fred from a hamstring injury, though his likely inclusion is offset by the loss of winger Mate Dugandzic, who will miss up to three months with a broken foot.

Newcastle will be without goalkeeper Mark Birighitti for up to eight weeks with a fractured cheekbone, paving the way for reserve goalkeeper Matthew Nash to fill the void, while Chris Grossman could feature in the midfield after signing as injury cover for Ben Kantarovski.

Craig Goodwin should return, while Swiss defender Dominic Ritter could be considered if van Egmond decides to change up his back four.

Aloisi accused his players of throwing in the towel at Hindmarsh Stadium and will be expecting a sharp increase in their desperation on their return to Melbourne.

The Heart coach could wield the axe for the fixture, with Fred an almost certain starter alongside Ben Garuccio and David Vrankovic, who were away on youth international commitments.

Jets coach Gary van Egmond similarly slammed his side's lacklustre performance in Newcastle and will also be looking for a significant turnaround.

The Jets had been one of the form teams of the competition heading into the match but were humbled by their sixth-straight loss to Wellington.

The nine games between the two teams have produced 17 goals, and while Heart secured a 3-0 win last time the teams met at AAMI Park.

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