Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory square off in a must-win game for both sides in A-League Round 20 action on Saturday night.
Jets vs Victory kicks off at 7.30pm AEDT at McDonald Jones Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports in Australia.
There’s still a third of the season to go, but it’s basically do-or-die for ninth-placed Victory and 10th-placed Newcastle as the two sides prepare to do battle on Saturday night.
I keep waiting for Victory to find their groove this season – they’ve got too good a roster to be languishing near the bottom of the ladder for this long – but they simply can’t find their best football.
Victory are still without a win under new boss Carlos Salvachua and have now gone five games winless. If they don’t take all three points in the Hunter, it will be Victory’s worst winless streak in three years.
Trailing sixth-placed Brisbane by nine points, Victory can’t afford to slip up against Newcastle if they harbour ambitions of playing finals football this season.
Meanwhile, the Jets have found a bit of form in recent weeks, going three games unbeaten with a win against the Mariners coming either side of draws against Western United and the Wanderers.
New coach Carl Robinson guided his side to a 1-1 draw at Bankwest last weekend and will be better for the run heading into this one. Newcastle are 11 points off the pace of the finals and it goes without saying a loss here would end their slim hopes.
Victory have won their last two matches at McDonald Jones Stadium, but they are in a real rough patch right now. Newcastle are slowly rounding into form and look rejuvenated under a new manager – at home, this could be their chance to register their best win of the season.
Newcastle Jets – $2.30
Melbourne Victory – $3.10
Draw – $3.60
– Victory have won their last two games in Newcastle
– Newcastle have the most shots on target of any team this season (Victory have the fewest)
– Victory winless in last five A-League games