This fixture is a massive one in the context of the Newcastle Jets’ season.
The Hunter club need at least a draw to stay in touch with the top six but a win would give them the upper hand over clubs around them on the table. With the Melbourne clubs facing off it gives the Jets a great chance to strike at a good time and with the Gold Coast likely to stitch up fourth spot, Branko Culina’s men have plenty in their favour.
But it is easy to say that looking at ladder positions and the games played column. What must be taken into account is on-field form.
The Jets were easily beaten 2-0 by the Central Coast Mariners at home last week whilst United held onto a 1-1 draw with the Heart on Wednesday although they probably should have been beaten.
Prior to the Jets loss, however, they saluted twice in a row to get their season right on track and at their best are good enough to take down the Gold Coast but being at Skilled Park plays into the hands of the home side.
Both clubs have factors in their favour to take maximum points here but I cannot split the two sides and feel a draw is on the cards.
Verdict: 1-1 draw
Gold Coast United vs. Newcastle Jets
Date: Saturday, 22 January 2011
Venue: Skilled Park, Robina
Local kick-off: 8:15pm (9:15pm AEDT)
Referee: Matthew Breeze
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 6): Gold Coast United wins 2, Newcastle Jets wins 3 (1 draw)
Match fact: Gold Coast United will be aiming to break a home crowd record of 10,204, set in December 2009 when Gold Coast defeated Brisbane 5-1.
Gold Coast United squad: 1.Glen MOSS [gk], 2.Steve PANTELIDIS, 3.Michael THWAITE (c), 6.Dino DJULBIC, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 8.ANDERSON, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 11.Bruce DJITE, 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16.Kristian REES, 19.Andrew BARISIC, 21.Golgol MEBRAHTU, 22.Adama TRAORE, 24.John CURTIS, 25.Chris BROADFOOT, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Chris HAROLD, 29.Zac ANDERSON, 30,Jerrad TYSON [gk], 33.Peter PERCHTOLD *five to be omitted*
In: Steve PANTELIDIS (return from facial injury), ANDERSON (promoted), Chris BROADFOOT (promoted), Ben HALLORAN (promoted), Chris HAROLD (promoted).
Unavailable: Jason CULINA (international duty), ROBSON (hamstring injury – 7 weeks), Daniel PIORKOWSKI (ankle injury – indefinite), Matt OSMAN (knee injury – indefinite)
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Sasho PETROVSKI, 14. Labinot HALITI, 16. Jeremy BROCKIE, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS, 25. Samuel GALLAWAY, 26. James VIRGILI, 28. Mario SIMIC, 31. Jacob PEPPER, 40. Matthew NASH *one to be omitted*
In: Samuel GALLAWAY, Mario SIMIC, Jacob PEPPER (all promoted from NYL)
Unavailable: Neil YOUNG (Illness - indefinite), Michael BRIDGES (knee - six weeks), Sean ROONEY (knee - season), Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - season), Kaz PATAFTA (groin - one week), Brodie MOOY (compartment syndrome - season), Adam D'APUZZO (ankle - one week), Kasey WEHRMAN (Foot - four weeks), Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee - three weeks), Ali ABBAS (groin - one week), Zhang SHUO (Not selected)