Jeronimo Neumann has scored each of his seven goals at home this season. Image courtesy of Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
To say Adelaide United desperately needed last week’s 2-0 win over Heart in Melbourne is a big understatement. The Reds had won just one of their previous seven matches – coincidentally, against Heart’s cross-town rival Victory – and five of those fixtures finished with Adelaide on the wrong end of the scoreline. It was the first time Adelaide had grabbed the chocolates away from home since November.
With fourth spot all but wrapped up, the Reds can now concentrate on hitting their straps heading in to the finals. Newcastle , on the other hand, faces a very different scenario. Gary van Egmond’s team is fighting tooth and nail to grab one of the two remaining finals spots available. They’re in a five-horse race; the Jets sit in sixth, but every team in the chasing pack has a game in hand. Two losses on the trot, including a 2-1 home defeat against Perth last weekend, certainly haven’t helped their chances.
The Jets’ record at Hindmarsh Stadium is respectable enough with one win, four draws and a single defeat in their past six visits to the City of Churches. Despite their wretched recent run of outs, Adelaide still has eight wins and a draw from its 12 starts at home this campaign.
The Reds regain striker Bruce Djite for this clash after being troubled by a groin strain of late. At the other end of the park, Newcastle will again be missing its front man Emile Heskey due to a calf problem. With Ryan Griffiths leaving to ply his trade for Beijing Baxy in China’s League One, the Jets are without their two main strike forces from earlier in the season. Just three goals in their past four games shows they are struggling to find the back of the net, but the bad news is they’ve conceded in 12 of their 13 away games this season.
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