Emile Heskey will look to combine with new signing Joel Griffiths. Source: Getty Images/news.com.au
Without a win since Brisbane provided them with an early Christmas present in round 11, the Newcastle Jets have slowly slipped out of the top six to sit in eighth position. After shocking Roar 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium on December 20, Newcastle has suffered four losses. Its sole point came from a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory. Defence has been the big problem for the Jets. At their last two starts, the Jets have had trebles put on them. Rusty men from the ‘Steel City’ were thumped 3-0 by the Central Coast Mariners and 3-1 by Melbourne Heart, a result which ended a 19-game winless streak for the red and whites.
The Wanderers' form has also been inconsistent of late – three losses and two wins from their last five outings. Before beating Perth 3-1, the team from Sydney’s west had suffered consecutive away losses going down 1-0 to Adelaide United and 3-1 to Melbourne Victory. In fact, three of its four losses this season have been on the road. On the plus side of the ledger, during a five-game unbeaten run in December, Tony Popovic’s side posted a 1-0 victory over Newcastle at Hunter Stadium, when former Jet Mark Bridge headed home the winner.
His international transfer clearance sorted with Chinese club Qingdao Jonoon, veteran striker Joel Griffiths has been included in the Newcastle squad. The 34-year-old was a stand-out in the Jets' championship season of 2007/08, winning the Johnny Warren Medal and the Golden Boot award. Youngsters James Virgili and Joey Gibbs have also been selected. For the visitors, Tomi Juric and Adam D'Apuzzo are back from suspension, with schoolboy Alusine Fofanah a chance to grab a bench spot.
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