A-League preview: Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets

Topics

The Jets travel to Adelaide looking to put a tumultuous mid-season break behind them, while the Reds will be hoping to turn around their recent form against the men from Newcastle and keep pace with table-topping Perth Glory.

Fixture details

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

Kick-Off: 4:30 PM (Local) (5:00 PM AEDT)

Referee: Matthew Conger

Squads

Adelaide United squad: 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Osama MALIK, 7.PABLO SÁNCHEZ, 8.ISAÍAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 11.Bruce DJITE, 14.Cameron WATSON, 16.Craig GOODWIN, 17.Awer MABIL, 18.Jimmy JEGGO, 20.Paul IZZO (GK), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA, 24.Bruce KAMAU, 30.John HALL (GK) ***two to be omitted***

Ins: Nil

Outs: Nil

Unavailable: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (international duty), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – indefinite)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 3.Taylor REGAN, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Adrian MADASCHI, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 12.Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTANO, 14.Billy CELESKI, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 18.Allan WELSH, 19.Mitch COOPER, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 23.David CARNEY, 27.Radovan PAVICEVI ***two to be omitted***

Ins: 3.Taylor REGAN (promoted), 14.Billy CELESKI (returns from injury), 27.Radovan PAVICEVIC (promoted)

Outs: 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN (shoulder – 2-3 weeks), 10.Marcos FLORES (released), 17.James VIRGILI (ankle – 2-3 months)

Unavailable: 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season)

TV Broadcast: Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 5.00pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)

Radio Broadcast: 891 ABC Adelaide, ABC Local Radio  SA, 1233 ABC Newcastle, Grandstand Digital Adelaide, Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app  

Bluffer's guide

Adelaide United return to A-League action on Saturday refreshed and ready to resume their assault on the title, but the same can't be said for the Newcastle Jets, who have endured the holiday from hell during the break for the Asian Cup.

The resignation and departure of chairman Ray Baartz and chief executive Robbie Middleby has prompted owner Nathan Tinkler to take the club off the market and assume a more hands-on role in the running of the organisation.

So far his tenure has seen Sam Galloway leave for Western Sydney and Marcos Flores released to join Jacksonville Armada, while Andrew Hoole has confirmed he will leave at the end of the season and is expected to sign for Sydney FC.

In a rare positive, goalkeeper Ben Kennedy has extended his contract, but that was followed swiftly by the news James Virgili will be out for up to three months after breaking his ankle, while Argentine forward Jeronimo Neumann has also been sidelined with a shoulder problem. He is expected back within two to three weeks.

On Saturday they travel to face a Reds side fourth on the table, six points behind league leaders Perth Glory, and the absence of goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic on international duty plus an injury to Jordan Elsey their only selection concerns. The Jets by contrast are second bottom, only four points ahead of last-placed Western Sydney and having played two games more than the winless Wanderers.

Opta Data stats

- Newcastle have failed to score in their last three away matches, and haven't scored more than one goal in their last 10 on the road.

- Adelaide have won only one of their last six meetings with Newcastle Jets (D2 L3).

- The Jets' only win so far this season came against Adelaide (2-1 in December).

Route to goal

With Galekovic away and Jordan Elsey the only absentee through injury, Adelaide coach Josep Gombau has said he expects to have '95 percent' of his squad available for the visit of the Jets, meaning Reds supporters should be treated to a display of typical attacking verve from their talented side.

Expect Bruce Djite to lead the line at centre-forward, with Marcelo Carrusca pulling the strings at No.10.

Any of Sergio Cirio, Pablo Sanchez, Fabio Ferreira, Awer Mabil or Craig Goodwin could occupy the wide roles in the Adelaide frontline, with Gombau spoiled for choice on the flanks.

The Jets are rather less well-stocked in the final third. David Carney has been one a consistent threat on the left wing for Phil Stubbins' men, with Edson Montano starting more often than the injured Jeronimo Neumann at centre-forward this season.

The two South Americans and Joel Griffiths each have three goals apiece this campaign, but they are getting no help from elsewhere on the field.

The departed Flores had scored once this season, but no other midfielder has hit the back of the net, while Kew Jaliens and Scott Neville, also with one each, are the only other Newcastle players to score in 14 matches of the 2014-15 campaign.

Who's been in the spotlight this week?

Mabil is back in South Australia after trialling with Ajax in the Netherlands. In a relief for Adelaide fans, the fleet-footed youngster didn't earn a contract with the Eredivisie side, but enjoyed the experience of rubbing shoulders with some of the game's greats now running the show at the Dutch champions.

"Dennis Bergkamp is an amazing person, easy going, just trying to help the youngsters with advice on what to do," Mabil told the Adelaide Advertiser.

Form lines 

Adelaide have won three and lost two of their last five matches in all competitions, winning 2-1 away to frontrunners Perth in their most recent outing on January 5.

The Jets' solitary victory of the league season came at the expense of Adelaide at Hunter Stadium on December 19. Since then they've lost away to Melbourne Victory, at home to Melbourne City and drawn 0-0 with Sydney FC in Wollongong.

Did you know?

Adelaide have had more shots (149), faced fewer shots (124) and conceded fewer goals (14) than any other A-League team this season.

By contrast, Newcastle have had fewer shots (96), faced more shots (215) and conceded more goals (28) than any other side in the league.

Prediction

Result: Adelaide 3-0 Newcastle

Signing off before the Asian Cup break with a win away to the league leaders will have left Adelaide with a spring in their step during the last couple of weeks. Since losing for the first time this season, 3-2 away to Melbourne Victory on November 28, they had begun to wobble slightly in the lead up to the festive period, losing three more and winning four of the next seven, failing to record consecutive victories in that sequence.

We think a well-earned rest will equip the Reds to dispatch the Jets with ease. Morale must be rock-bottom at the Hunter Stadium outfit following several weeks of uncertainty and turmoil.