A-League Preview: Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix

Ernie's entertainers are in the Hunter, so how will the win-less Jets handle the attacking prowess of Wellington Phoenix? Who can inspire the under-performing home side to a first win of the season? Expect goals in this one.

MATCH DETAILS
Saturday, 6 December 2014
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Kick-Off: 5pm (Local) (5pm AEDST) 

Squads
Newcastle Jets 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 6.Adrian MADASCHI, 6.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 13.Edson MONTANO, 14.Billy CELESKI, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 18.Allan WELSH, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 21.Sam GALLAWAY, 23.David CARNEY, 26.Nick COWBURN 

**two to be omitted** 

Ins 6.Ben KANTAROVSKI (promoted), 26. Nick COWBURN (promoted)
Outs Nil
Unavailable 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season), 22.Jonny STEELE (leave of absence) 

Wellington Phoenix 1. Glen MOSS (GK), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 4. Roly BONEVACIA, 5. Michael BOXALL, 7, Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8. Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9. Nathan BURNS, 10. Michael McGLINCHEY, 11. Jeremy BROCKIE, 13. Albert RIERA, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 19. Tom DOYLE, 20. Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE (capt), 23. Matthew RIDENTON ( 

**two to be omitted** 

Ins 17. Vince LIA (returns from injury), Louis FENTON (returns from injury). .
Outs Nil.
Unavailable 15. Jason HICKS (knee injury 2-3 weeks). 

Hashtag: #NEWvWEL 

BROADCAST COVERAGE
TV - Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 4.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 2 (New Zealand)
Radio Broadcast: 1233 ABC Newcastle, Grandstand Digital, Grandstand Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app  

Referee Adam Fielding
Assistant Referee 1 David Walsh
Assistant Referee 2 Lance Greenshields
Fourth Official Adam Gehrig 

BLUFFER’S GUIDE
Newcastle’s inability to hold onto a lead came back to haunt them against Central Coast last weekend, meaning they have now squandered points from winning positions in four matches this season. 

It’s just not good enough if they are serious about pushing for a finals berth. 

Phil Stubbins’ side will need to stop a familiar foe if they are any chance in this one, with ex-Jet Nathan Burns a huge reason behind Wellington’s impressive season thus far. 

Newcastle seemed to have fixed up their defensive frailties in the last fortnight and will need to keep that up against the free-scoring Phoenix. 

Ben Kantarovski and Nick Cowburn have been added to an extended squad, while there’s still no word on what will happen with Jonny Steele who remains on indefinite leave.

It’s hard to see Phoenix boss Ernie Merrick making too many changes to his XI after their drubbing of Melbourne City last weekend. 

OPTA DATA STATS
-None of the last seven A-League games in Newcastle between the sides have produced a draw. 

-The Kiwi side’s haul of 12 points from a possible 24 is their best total after eight games of an A-League season. 

-Newcastle have mustered an A-League-low 49 shots this campaign. 

-David Carney (Newcastle Jets) has recorded the most crosses this season (60). 

ROUTE TO GOAL
The Jets should be looking to get the ball to ex-Socceroo Carney as much as possible. Playing on the right-wing, Carney has set up both of Newcastle’s goals in their last two matches by cutting inside and putting in pin-point deliveries with his more favoured left foot. Wellington winger Roy Krishna has proved something of an unsung hero for Merrick’s side, adding pace and flair to Phoenix’s attack. He’s proving a good foil for the in-form Nathan Burns. 

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?
Nathan Burns. Who else? The attacker created his own piece of history last weekend, scoring the club’s first-ever hat-trick in the A-League. 

It’s that form in front of goal which has Burns being talked up as a bolter in Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos squad for the Asian Cup. 

Another big showing against his former club – Burns scored a brace in the previous meeting between the two sides this season - will only make those calls even leader in coming weeks. 

FORM LINES
Newcastle is still trying to find the right ingredient to bag their first win. The Jets were held to their fourth draw of the season – and second on the trot – in the 1-1 stalemate with the Mariners on Sunday. 

Just a couple of hours earlier Phoenix were putting the cleaners through Melbourne City, cruising to a 5-1 drubbing to cement their spot in the top six. 

DID YOU KNOW?
Wellington has kept only one clean sheet in their last 27 matches on the road. 

PREDICTION
Newcastle Jets 2-3 Wellington Phoenix

Phoenix are flying at the moment and have improved on their horrible previous record on the road. With the likes of Burns, Krishna, McGlinchey and Bonevacia in ominous form, they might just continue the Jets’ struggles for another week at least. But this should be great entertainment for the neutrals.