With two regular season matches left, the Jets can still sneak into the final six if they manage to win their remaining games but need the Phoenix to lose at home to bottom-of-the-table North Queensland Fury on Sunday.
With that result out of their hands, Newcastle will have to focus on tonight’s home clash with Perth Glory and record a solid win if they are any chance of pushing for an unlikely playoffs tilt.
The overriding factor here is that Branko Culina’s men have not won for five matches and have lost seven of their last 10, indicating that their form for this is not ideal.
They will be buoyed by their 1-1 draw with Sydney on Sunday – a match they could have snatched at the death – and expect them to go all out here for maximum points.
In the Perth camp, they have little to play for besides pride and will be looking to stop a four-game losing streak and notch up their first victory in eight matches.
Ian Ferguson is a proud man and won’t be bothered by the fact that the Jets are still in the finals hunt as he will want to end the season on a high in their last regular season match (they have the bye in the final week).
It promises to be an open contest as both sides will be looking to score and I expect the Jets to really fire up and get one of the wins they require because if they don’t do it now, then their season will certainly be over.
Verdict: Jets 2-1
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
Date: Thursday, 10 February 2011
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle
Local kick-off: 7.30pm
Referee: Matthew Breeze
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 17): Newcastle Jets wins 4, Perth Glory wins 9 (4 draws)
Match fact: Having not won any of their previous 13 away matches, Perth Glory will be aiming to avoid creating a new club record winless streak away from home (14).
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 3. Adam D'APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY (c), 9. Zhang SHUO, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Sasho PETROVSKI, 14. Labinot HALITI, 16. Jeremy BROCKIE, 18. Marko JESIC , 19.Ali ABBAS, 22. Kaz PATAFTA, 23. Ryan GRIFFTHS, 25. Samuel GALLAWAY, 26. James VIRGILI, 28. Mario SIMIC, 31. Jacob PEPPER, 40. Matthew NASH *four to be omitted*
In: Taylor REGAN (promoted), Kaz PATAFTA (returns from injury), Zhang SHUO (returns from injury), Ryan GRIFFTHS (returns from suspension)
Unavailable: Michael BRIDGES (knee - six weeks), Sean ROONEY (knee - season), Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - season), Brodie MOOY (compartment syndrome - season), Kasey WEHRMAN (Foot - four weeks), Ruben ZADKOVICH (knee - two weeks), Neil Marcello FIORENTINI (suspended – 1 match)
Perth Glory squad: 1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2.Josh MITCHELL, 7.Jacob BURNS (c), 9.Robbie FOWLER, 11.Branko JELIC, 12.Scott NEVILLE, 13.Tommy AMPHLETT, 14.Steven McGARRY, 15.Howard FONDYKE, 16.Adriano PELLEGRINO, 17. Todd HOWARTH, 18.Brent GRIFFITHS, 20. Alex PEARSON (gk), 21.Mile STERJOVSKI, 24. Josh RISDON, 26. Adam TAGGART *one to be omitted*
In: Branko JELIC (promoted), Howard FONDYKE (promoted)
Out: Jamie HARNWELL (retired), Naum SEKULOVSKI (injured)
Unavailable: Jamie HARNWELL (retired) Chris COYNE (Achilles – season), Naum SEKULOVSKI (ankle – 1 week), Anthony SKORICH (groin – 1 week)