A-League preview: Newcastle Jets v Brisbane Roar

Can the winless Roar finally kickstart their season? On Friday night the bruised Orange Army hit the road to face a Jets side buoyed after last week’s intense 2-2 draw with Victory. It should be a fascinating encounter.

Friday, 14 November 2014
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle

Kick-Off: 7.40pm (Local), (7.40pm AEDST)
Referee: Alan Milliner

Newcastle Jets: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 3.Taylor REGAN, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Adrian MADASCHI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Marcos FLORES, 12.Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTANO,  14.Billy CELESKI, 17.James VIRGILI, 18.Allan WELSH, 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK), 21.Sam GALLAWAY, 23.David CARNEY ***one to be omitted***

Ins: 6.Adrian MADASCHI (returns from injury), 14.Billy CELESKI (returns from injury), 17.James VIRGILI (promoted).
Outs: 16.Jacob PEPPER (omitted), 11.Andrew HOOLE (international duty)
Unavailable: 2.Scott NEVILLE (groin - 1 week), 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season), 22.Jonny STEELE (leave of absence).

Brisbane Roar FC 2.Matt SMITH (c), 3.Shane STEFANUTTO, 7.Mensur KURTISHI, 8.Steven LUSTICA, 10.HENRIQUE, 12.Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 13.Jade NORTH, 14.Daniel BOWLES, 16.Devante CLUT, 18.Luke BRATTAN, 21.Jamie YOUNG (gk), 22.Thomas BROICH, 23.Dimitri PETRATOS, 28.Brandon BORRELLO, 30.Matthew ACTON, 34.Shannon BRADY

Ins: 14.Daniel BOWLES, 16.Devante CLUT, 34.Shannon BRADY (all promoted)
Outs: 19.Jack HINGERT (knee – 6 weeks), 15.James DONACHIE (international duty – 1 week), 17.Matt McKAY (international duty – 1 week)
Unavailable: 1.Michael THEO (wrist – 4 weeks), 4.Adam SAROTA (knee – 2 weeks), 5.Corey BROWN (international duty – 1 week), 6.George LAMBADARIDIS (knee – 2 weeks), 15.James DONACHIE (international duty – 1 week), 17.Matt McKAY (international duty – 1 week)

Broadcast coverage
TV - Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 (FOX SPORTS 4HD & 4)  from 7.00pm (AEDT), Live Coverage on SBS HD & SBS One from 7.30pm AEDT and Sky Sport 1 (New Zealand)
Radio - ABC Grandstand Online/ABC Radio Mobile phone app 

If Brisbane are to snap their winless start to the season they will need to find a way to beat a side that had their measure last season.

Despite missing the finals, Newcastle beat Mike Mulvey’s side on all three occasions last season, an incredible statistic considering how dominant the Roar were on their way to winning the double.

Both sides have struggled so far this campaign and are still searching for their first victory.

The Jets have been given a huge boost for this one with new signings Billy Celeski and Adrian Madaschi both included in the squad for the first time this season.

James Virgili has also been promoted with Jacob Pepper dropped, while Andrew Hoole is with the Olyroos and Scott Neville makes way with a groin problem.

Brisbane boss Mike Mulvey has been forced into three changes of his own with Jack Hingert out for six weeks with knee ligament trouble, while Matt McKay (Socceroos) and James Donachie (Olyroos) are away.

Daniel Bowles, Devante Clut and Shannon Brady all come into the squad. Defender Shane Stefanutto and goal-keeper Jamie Young are retained despite their on-field bust-up last weekend.

-Brisbane have lost all four of their A-League games so far this season – they haven’t lost five A-League games in a row since December 2011.

-No team has conceded more goals in the A-League this season than either of these sides (10 – level with Melbourne City).

-Brisbane Roar have averaged the highest possession figure in the A-League so far in 2014-15 (62.5 percent).

Free-scorers last season, Brisbane simply haven’t found a replacement for star striker Besart Berisha. They have still dominated possession in most games and a lot of their build-up play has been good but it’s the finishing touch in the final third which has let the Roar down.

Mulvey has tried Henrique, Mensur Kurtishi, Jean Carlos Solorzano and youngster Brandon Borrello at times and might need to settle on one option to try and get some continuity in their play. Both sides have struggled  defensively so far so expect goals in this one as both should look to attack their opponents’ confidence-sapped back four.

Shane Stefanutto and Jamie Young. The pair was involved in a heated discussion (argument) on the pitch after full-time last weekend in a clear sign there is a problem and build-up of frustration in the champions’ playing ranks.

While the club are adamant the duo have “kissed and made up”, it will be interesting to see if there is any lingering fall-out to the public spat. The only way to put that matter to bed is if they both – providing they are selected – put in strong performances in the Hunter.

The Jets picked up just their second point of the season last weekend but threw away a two-goal lead in the 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory.

It snapped a two-game losing streak and was undoubtedly their best performance of the season, looking a lot more confident back on their home turf after a month on the road.

Brisbane created a bit of unwanted history in going down 3-1 to Melbourne City last Saturday. The defeat made it four losses from their first four games – the first team any side has done that in the history of the A-League.

Luke Brattan has played more passes than any other player in the A-League this season with 318 from four matches.

Newcastle Jets 2-2 Brisbane Roar FC

This is an opportunity for both sides to put a sorry season so far behind them and pick up a valuable win. While victory is vital, defeat would be another blow so it might just mean these sides share the points.