Match preview: Perth Glory v Newcastle Jets

In the last four clashes between these sides, the Jets have won three and drawn once, scoring nine goals to Perth's single score.

Date: Saturday, 18 February 2012 Kick-off: 7:00pm (AWST), 10:00pm (AEDT) Venue: nib Stadium

Head-to-head Played 20: Wins: Perth Glory 9, Newcastle Jets 6, Draws: 5

Previous encounter Newcastle Jets 1, Perth Glory 1, Gold Coast United 0, Hunter Stadium, December 2011

History: In the last four clashes between these sides, the Jets have won three and drawn once, scoring nine goals to Perth's single score. Strangely enough, all four of those matches were held in Newcastle, so the Glory will be looking to return the favour as the Jets travel west for the first time in 18 months.

Perth will have extra incentive to win after having striker Billy Mehmet dismissed during the first half in the last clash between these sides.

Mehmet had opened the scoring for Glory with a cracking goal but received his marching orders after an ordinary piece of acting from Jets defender Tiago Calvano. Mehmet's card was ultimately rescinded but for almost an hour the Glory had to play with 10 men, and it proved too much as Francis Jeffers equalised.

Form: Past five matches: Perth Glory: DWWWL Newcastle Jets: LDWWW

Both sides head into this match with some quality form under their belts. That aforementioned 1-1 draw with Newcastle was the first game of a record eight-match unbeaten run for Perth, a streak that only came to an end last Saturday night as they slumped to a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC.

In that loss to the Sky Blues, the Glory had their chances and really dominated play before Brett Emerton opened the scoring in the 54th minute. But the zip and coherent passing they had showed in previous games, was lacking in that encounter.

Newcastle, meanwhile, produced one of their more solid performances as they saw off Melbourne Heart 3-0 last Saturday. As soon as Jeremy Brockie glanced the ball in to open the scoring, it was all Newcastle as the Jets impressive midfield pairing of Jacob Pepper and Jobe Wheelhouse tore the undermanned Heart a new one.

Match Committee: Glory don't have to make too many changes for this week's game. The club received clarification from FFA that skipper Jacob Burns only has seven yellow cards to his name, instead of the eight previously reported, meaning he's eligible to play.

Todd Howarth (groin) and Josh Mitchell (knee) will be put through their paces at training, but may play Youth League first. Evan Berger remains several weeks away with his hamstring issues, while Scott Neville isn't far off returning from his ruptured ACL and may be in line for Youth League action in the coming weeks.

While the Glory will be able to field their skipper, the same can't be said for Newcastle, who have lost Jobe Wheelhouse for at least a fortnight with a groin tear. It's a massive blow for the Jets as Wheelhouse has been instrumental in the centre of the park over the past few weeks in tandem with Pepper. His absence will mean something of a re-shuffle as Ben Kantarovski is off with the Australian Under-23 side and Kasey Wehrman is effectively the Jets equivalent of Carlos Tevez after his bust-up with Gary van Egmond.

Danger men: Billy Mehmet - The big striker showed off his predatory instincts by coming on in the second half against Sydney last weekend and nailing the goal that made things very interesting for the Sky Blues.

Jeremy Brockie - Gary van Egmond gave top votes in the Newcastle coaching award to Brockie for last weekend's game, so who am I to argue with that? Brockie's glancing header saw Newcastle open the scoring against Heart, an effort that was his ninth goal of the season.

At the end of the day… This is a massive game for both sides as fourth versus fifth on the table clash at nib Stadium. A win for the Glory will give Ian Ferguson's men some extra breathing space in the top four, while a Jets victory will allow them to leapfrog Perth into fourth.

The Glory will be looking to bounce back after last week's loss to Sydney. So far this season, the competition has shown that teams can get on winning or unbeaten streaks, but once those runs end and the winning momentum goes away, they end in a big way.

This has been demonstrated by Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Heart and to a lesser extent Central Coast over the past fortnight. Ferguson will be keen to avoid that happening to his side, especially after going through a disappointing run of results early in the season that saw his position well and truly in the gun.

Perth's chances of victory, though, have been greatly increased by Wheelhouse's absence in the central midfield. If Glory can take advantage of some Newcastle uncertainty in this area, then they have midfield players like Liam Miller, Travis Dodd and Mile Sterjovski capable of causing some serious damage. But Glory's undermanned defence will also have to be particularly wary of Newcastle's attacking trio of Jeffers, Brockie and Bridges. In essence, this should be a cracking match.


Perth Glory Squad: 1.Danny Vukovic (Gk), 3.Bas Van Den Brink, 4.Billy Mehmet, 5.Steve Pantelidis, 7.Jacob Burns (C) 8.Adam Hughes, 9.Shane Smeltz, 10.Liam Miller, 13.Travis Dodd, 14.Steven Mcgarry, 15.Tommy Amphlett, 18 Jesse Makarounas, 19. Josh Risdon, 20. Neil Young, 21.Mile Sterjovski, 27.Andrezinho 35. Dean Heffernan *two to be omitted*

In: 15.Tommy Amphlett (Promoted), 18 Jesse Makarounas (Promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: 2. Josh Mitchell (Knee), 6.Chris Coyne (Achilles), 11.Victor Sikora (Hip - Long Term Injury List), 12.Scott Neville (Knee), 16.Evan Berger (Hamstring), 17.Todd Howarth (Groin), 22.Adam Taggart (U-23 Selection)

Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben Kennedy (gk), 2. Taylor Regan, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5. Tiago Calvano, 8. Jeremy Brockie, 9. Michael Bridges, 10. Ruben Zadkovich, 11. Tarek Elrich, 13. Byun, 14. Labinot Haliti, 17. James Virgili, 19. Matthew Nash (gk), 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Ryan Griffiths, 24. Francis Jeffers, 25. Jacob Pepper, 26. Connor Chapman

In: 14. Labinot Haliti, 17. James Virgili, 26. Connor Chapman Out: Wheelhouse (groin 2 weeks) Unavailable: Kantarovski (Qantas Australian U23 duty)