Matchday preview: Sydney FC v Newcastle Jets

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WIN Stadium in Wollongong hosts the first match of round 14 and both sides will be desperate for just that – a win to kick-start their stuttering campaigns. Get ready for an intriguing encounter between two sides hell-bent on making it a winning start to 2015 in the 'Gong.

MATCH DETAILS

Saturday, 3 January 2015

WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Kick-Off: 7.30pm (Local) (7.30pm AEDST)

Squads

Sydney FC: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Seb RYALL, 4.Pedj BOJIC, 6.Nikola PETKOVIC, 8.Milos DIMITRIJEVIC, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bernie IBINI, 12 Hagi GLIGOR, 13.Christopher NAUMOFF, 14.Alex BROSQUE (c), 16.Alex GERSBACH, 18.Peter TRIANTIS, 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 21.Mark JANKO, 23. Rhyan GRANT, 24. George TIMOTHEOU, 25. Aaron CALVER, 29. George BLACKWOOD

***two to be omitted***

Ins 4. Pedj BOJIC (promoted) 29. George BLACKWOOD (promoted)

Outs nil

Unavailable 7.Corey GAMEIRO (knee – indefinite), 22.Ali ABBAS (knee – indefinite), 5. Matt JURMAN (illness – 1 weeks), 19. Nick CARLE (knee – indefinite), 3.Sasa OGNENOVSKI (hip - indefinite). 17. Terry ANTONIS (International Duty – 1 matches).

Newcastle Jets: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Adrian MADASCHI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 10.Marcos FLORES, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13.Edson MONTANO, 16.Jacob PEPPER, 17.James VIRGILI, 18.Allan WELSH, 19.Mitch COOPER, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 23.David CARNEY

***two to be omitted***

Ins 10. Marcos FLORES (returns from injury), 12. Sam GALLAGHER (promoted)

Outs Nil.

Unavailable 14.Billy CELESKI (groin – 1 week), 15.Josh BARRESI (knee – season)

Hashtag: #SYDvNEW

Broadcast coverage

TV - Live and exclusive coverage on FOX SPORTS 505 from 7.30pm (AEDT) and Sky Sport 3 (New Zealand)

Radio - 702 ABC Sydney, 1233 ABC Newcastle, ABC Local Radio  NSW, Grandstand Digital,  Online/ ABC Radio Mobile phone app

Referee: Lucien Laverdure

Assistant Referee 1: Leigh Pigram

Assistant Referee 2: Owen Goldrick

Fourth Official: Luke Withell

BLUFFER’S GUIDE

These two sides will be hoping 2015 brings about a change in fortunes after both endured tough endings to last year for differing reasons. Newcastle were belted 5-2 by Melbourne City FC on Tuesday to end 2014 in ninth position while the Sky Blues took a respectable point in Brisbane but are seriously down on troops and in danger of being over-taken in fifth spot by the in-form City. 

Given the Sky Blues struggles at Allianz Stadium of late – they’ve lost three in a row at the venue – it might come as a relief that this “home” match will be played at WIN Stadium in Wollongong. Despite this match marking the midway point of the season, it’s the first time the two sides will go head-to-head this campaign.

Marquee man Marc Janko, who has been battling a hip problem, is likely to come into the starting side for the Sky Blues after only coming off the bench against Roar. It will be interesting to see if he comes in for Shane Smeltz or Arnold opts to play the pair together like he has done earlier in the campaign. 

Marcos Flores returns to the Jets squad and could come straight into the starting XI as Phil Stubbins looks for a change of fortune for his side. Jeronimo will definitely start after grabbing a goal off the bench on Tuesday, while skipper Kew Jaliens is also likely to get the nod given Newcastle’s horror defensive showing against City

ROUTE TO GOAL

The Sky Blues are struggling in the front third, without a goal in their last three matches. They are struggling especially in the wide areas and when they do manage to get in good positions down the flanks, the final ball is often lacking, much to the frustration of Smeltz and Janko. The Jets have got most of their joy down the left wing of late, through the guile and trickery of David Carney as well as the pace and directness of Andrew Hoole. Jeronimo could be their x-factor, having scored twice in the last three matches.

WHO’S BEEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT THIS WEEK?

Jeronimo. The Argentine attacker has had limited opportunities under Stubbins but, assured of a start against the Sky Blues, will have a point to prove. Jeronimo is a proven goal-scorer in the A-League as he has demonstrated in the last couple of weeks and, against a Sky Blues defence that has leaked 10 goals in their last five games, will fancy his chances of adding to that.

FORM LINES

Sydney may have won just one of their last nine matches but they did stop a mini-losing streak with a hard-earned 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar on Tuesday night. The Jets looked to have turned the corner with a recent win over Adelaide followed by a credible 1-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory but took three steps back with their heavy loss to Melbourne City last time out.

DID YOU KNOW?

Despite sitting second-last on the table, Newcastle Jets were the only NSW-based side (Sydney FC, Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Central Coast Mariners) to register a win in the whole month of December.

PREDICTION

Sydney FC 2-1 Newcastle Jets

Considering how bad the Jets were against City on Tuesday, it’s fair to assume they will be desperate to atone in this one. Whenever a side is given a hiding like they were, the next match can’t come soon enough to prove it was just an aberration. Sydney produced a much better performance in their last outing and if they can withstand what could be an early Jets onslaught, they might just have enough class in the likes of Alex Brosque, Milos Dimitrijevic, Bernie Ibini and Janko to get over the line.