A-League preview: Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets

Can Victory overcome some key absences to extend their winning run? Or was the victory over the Sky Blues last week the result that has re-started the Jets' season?
GOAL.com Indonesia   By GOAL.COM



Foschini, Ansell, Broxham, Traore
Bru, Finkler, Celeski
Rojas, Flores, Thompson


Neville, Chapman, Gallaway, Ritter
Zadkovich, Wheelhouse, Goodwin
Virgili, Heskey, Griffiths

Melbourne Victory could create some distance between themselves and Western Sydney Wanderers when they return to AAMI Park for the third-successive week to do battle with Newcastle Jets on Friday.

Victory occupy third position, one point ahead of the Wanderers, who travel to Perth on Thursday. Depending on results, Victory could end the round as much as four points clear.

The recent form of Ange Postecoglou's men should fill both the team and fans with confidence, having lost just once in their past eight games.

Victory head into Friday's match on the back of a dramatic 2-1 win over city-rivals Heart, while the Jets are coming off a convincing 2-1 win at home to cellar-dwellers Sydney FC, which ended a five-game winless run.

And a win for the 2007-08 Hyundai A-League champions would further congest the standings, with just 10 points separating third from bottom.

But how will Victory cope without captain Adrian Leijer and influential utility Mark Milligan?

Saturday's derby triumph came at a cost, with the key duo handed suspensions. Leijer received a mandatory one-game ban for picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, while Milligan will miss the next two matches after the independent Match Review Panel found the Australia international guilty of violent conduct.

Leigh Broxham is being tipped to fill Leijer's spot, whie Jonathan Bru should replace Milligan.  Diogo Ferreira is also out, through injury, with Matthew Foschini to come in for him.

Can the Jets make it back-to-back wins? In defeating Sydney FC, Gary van Egmond's troops sealed maximum points for the first time since edging the Wanderers 2-1 in Week 6.

The victory also snapped a scoreless streak of three games. England international Emile Heskey returned to the scorers list, netting his sixth goal since making the move down under.

The Jets have also enjoyed a dominant history since the inception of the A-League, winning half of the teams' 22 encounters to date. In recent times, the Jets have collected nine points from a possible 12 against Victory - a run they will be keen to maintain on Friday.

Their XI should be far more settled than their opponents, with the most likely change being the return of captain Jobe Wheelhouse from injury.  He is favoured to take the place of Josh Brillante in midfield, ensuring he would lead the team in what is van Egmond's 100th game in charge of the Jets.

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