The Fury have lost three and drawn one in their past four whilst the Jets have dropped all of their last three outings, making this a tough one to pick.
At their best the Jets would take this one comfortably but they have failed to deliver that for a little while now and it is hard to see them turning their form around 360 degrees to record a win here.
The Fury are generally tough to break down, especially at home, although last week against Melbourne Heart they put up little resistance, losing 2-0 on the road in a very poor showing.
With Newcastle needing a win to push toward the finals, you could easily go out and tip the visitors but without key defender Ljubo Milicevic, the back four will be slightly easier to pierce, giving Franz Straka’s men confidence to have a go in the front third.
But I can see these two teams cancelling each other out and sharing the points at Dairy Farmers Stadium.
Verdict: 1-1 draw
North Queensland Fury vs. Newcastle Jets
Date: Saturday, 8 January 2010
Venue: Dairy Farmers Stadium, Townsville
Local kick-off: 8:15pm (9.15pm AEDT)
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Head-to-Head: All matches (played 4): North Queensland Fury wins 1, Newcastle Jets wins 3 (0 draws)
Match fact: Newcastle Jets midfielder Tarek Elrich is set to make his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance.
North Queensland Fury squad: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT, 3. Brad McDONALD, 4. Eric AKOTO, 5. Mark HUGHES, 7. Gareth EDDS (c), 8. Adam CASEY, 10. Dyron DAAL, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 13. Andre KILIAN, 14. Chris GROSSMAN, 15. Chris PAYNE, 18. Brett STUDMAN, 21. Jason SPAGNUOLO, 23. Lorenzo SIPI, 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 28. Sebastian USAI (gk) *three to be omitted*
In: Lorenzo SIPI (promoted), Eric AKOTO (promoted), Dyron DAAL (promoted), Jason SPAGNUOLO (promoted)
Out: Ufuk TALAY (hamstring – 2 weeks)
Unavailable: Simon STOREY (lower back – 1 week), Osama MALIK (hamstring – 2-3 weeks), Isaka CERNAK (knee), Matthew HAM (knee – out for the season)
Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 3. Adam D’APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY, 7. Kasey WEHRMAN (c), 9. Zhang SHUO, 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 13. Sasho PETROVSKI, 14. Labinot HALITI, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC, 19. Ali ABBAS, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS, 50.Jack DUNCAN *one to be omitted*
In: Taylor REGAN, Zhang SHUO (both promoted)
Out: Ljubo MILICEVIC (ankle - two weeks)
Unavailable: Neil YOUNG (illness – indefinite), Michael BRIDGES (knee - 6 weeks), Jeremy BROCKIE (broken foot – 4-6 weeks), Sean ROONEY (knee - season), Ben KANTAROVSKI (knee - season), Matthew NASH (groin - two weeks), Kaz PATAFTA (groin - 1 week), Brodie MOOY (shin splints - two weeks)